Predicting liver injury in paracetamol overdose patients

Predicting liver injury in paracetamol overdose patients
The Liverpool team identified proteins and a strand of ribonucleic acid that may help develop a blood-based test to predict risk of liver injury.

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have identified molecules in the blood that could help predict the risk of a patient developing liver injury eight hours after a paracetamol overdose.

Paracetamol overdose is one of the most frequent cases of hospital admissions, accounting for approximately 90,000 hospital attendances per year in the UK and almost 47,000 bed days in England alone.  Overdose of the drug can result in liver damage, and in severe cases death.

Measuring biomarkers

The Liverpool team, in collaboration with the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh, the National Poisons Information Service, and Novartis, have identified proteins and a strand of ribonucleic acid (RNA) that may help in the future development of a blood-based test at hospitals to predict a patient's risk of .

These molecules, or biomarkers, are found in the liver, but when the die following paracetamol overdose, they spill out into the blood where scientists can measure them to give an indication of the level of injury to the liver.

Researchers, based at the University's Medical Research Council's (MRC) Centre for Drug Safety Science, showed that the biomarkers were more sensitive and accurate compared to current clinical methods and could predict the likelihood of eight hours after paracetamol overdose, a point at which indicators used today are ineffective.

Dr Dan Antoine, from the Centre for Science, said: "Clinicians work hard to treat paracetamol overdose patients as quickly as possible, but it is difficult to get the correct measure of treatment without a highly sensitive test that can predict the risk of the patient developing .

"The outcome of our study shows that it could be possible to develop a new test based on biomarkers in the blood, to determine which patients are at high risk of acute liver injury and which are not.  Identifying patients in this way will make a significant impact on clinical practice, reducing the number of and the length of time patients are treated with antidote."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Model predicts death due to acetaminophen overdose

Feb 24, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Model for Acetaminophen-induced Liver Damage (MALD), a mathematical model that utilizes commonly obtained laboratory values, including overdose amount and time elapsed since overdose, is effective ...

Recommended for you

WHO: Millions of Ebola vaccine doses ready in 2015

Oct 24, 2014

The World Health Organization says millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines will start being tested in March.

Added benefit of vedolizumab is not proven

Oct 23, 2014

Vedolizumab (trade name Entyvio) has been approved since May 2014 for patients with moderately to severely active Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis. In an early benefit assessment pursuant to the Act on the Reform of the ...

Seaweed menace may yield new medicines

Oct 22, 2014

An invasive seaweed clogging up British coasts could be a blessing in disguise. University of Greenwich scientists have won a cash award to turn it into valuable compounds which can lead to new, life-saving drugs.

User comments