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Paracetamol sold in Nigeria below international standards – WHO

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A recent study has revealed alarming findings about the quality of paracetamol tablets available for sale in Nigeria, indicating that nearly all of them are potentially underdosed, falling below the standards set by the British Pharmacopoeia and the World Health Organization.

The study, titled ‘Comparative Analysis of Five Different Brands of Paracetamol Sold in Nigeria with the British Pharmacopoeia Standards,’ highlighted that samples from five different paracetamol brands, each claiming to contain 500mg, were tested and analyzed using the spectrophotometric method.

The results revealed concentrations ranging from 185mg to 358mg, significantly below the recommended 500mg standard.

Experts behind the study expressed concern about the potential treatment failure resulting from underdosed paracetamol tablets.

They emphasized that this issue has not received adequate attention, possibly due to the perception that the practice is safe.

The researchers called attention to the broader implications of underdosed medication, stating, “Considering the current demands for cost-effective therapy, a prescribing and underdosing habit that could lead to treatment failure is of potential concern. They can result in poor patient outcomes, contribute to polypharmacy, and have a significant cost to the healthcare system.”

Paracetamol, commonly used in Nigeria for its analgesic properties, is a fundamental pain relief medication.

However, the study’s findings raise concerns about the effectiveness of the drug, potentially linked to insufficient concentrations of the active ingredient in the tested tablets.

The study, published in the journal Communication in Physical Sciences, underscores the need for heightened awareness and regulatory scrutiny to ensure the quality and efficacy of medications available to the public.

The health implications of underdosed paracetamol tablets extend beyond individual patients, affecting overall healthcare outcomes and imposing additional costs on the healthcare system.

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