Paracetamol side effects: The sign in your pee to ‘stop using’ the popular painkiller

Pharmacist explains how paracetamol and ibuprofen work

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Paracetamol is readily available in most stores and pharmacies. It comes in the form of either tablets, capsules, syrup or a dissolvable tablet. The painkiller can also be an ingredient in a range of cold and flu medicines. All drugs can cause side effects, so it may be worth knowing the ones linked to paracetamol if you are taking it.

The NHS reports that paracetamol “rarely” causes side effects if you stick to the right dosage.

The usual recommended dose is one or two 500 milligram tablets taken up to four times in a 24-hour period, according to the health body.

However, like any drug, paracetamol also has possible side effects some people can experience.

One side effect, which warrants medical help and ceasing its use, is dark pee, as reported by Drugs.com. 

Dark pee is associated with another side effect of the drug – jaundice.

Jaundice describes your skin and the whites of your eyes turning yellow.

The health portal Patient.Info explains that jaundice can occur because of paracetamol poisoning.

This can cause acute liver failure, which may turn your skin and eyes yellow.

Jaundice is triggered by high blood levels of the bile pigment called bilirubin in your body. This bile can turn your pee dark.

Apart from dark urine, jaundice can also be spotted when you have a poo as it can colour your stool clay.

If you experience any symptoms linked to jaundice you need to get “urgent medical help”, the NHS warns.

Drugs.com also advises stopping taking paracetamol if you’re doing so.

However, jaundice and toilet signs are not common paracetamol side effects.

To see a full list of possible side effects, refer to the patient information leaflet that came with your medicine.

To avoid any unwanted problems caused by the drug, the NHS stresses the importance of sticking to the right dose.

Another “serious” side effect that can happen in some cases is an allergic reaction to the medicine.

The warning signs to spot include:

  • Skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest or throat
  • Trouble breathing or talking
  • Swelling of mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.

It’s important to go to A&E or call 999 if you experience symptoms like these.

It might be helpful to know the warning signs signalling side effects of paracetamol, but as the NHS explained if you stick to the right dosage these occur rarely.

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