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Tuesday 8 March 2016

Monash research investigates better treatment regimens for paracetamol poisoning

Dr Wong and Prof Graudins
School of Clinical Sciences’ PhD student Dr Anselm Wong has been awarded a competitive NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship to support his research into paracetamol overdose, a significant public health issue.

A Monash Health emergency physician and clinical toxicologist, Dr Wong is researching the management and risk prediction of patients who have overdosed on paracetamol.

“These patients are at risk of liver toxicity if they don’t receive the antidote (acetylcysteine), and we are investigating the modification of antidote treatment regimens,” said Dr Wong.

Paracetamol overdose is a major problem in both developed and developing countries. As a single agent, paracetamol is the most common pharmaceutical agent ingested for deliberate self-poisoning in Australia and the rest of the developed world.

“In Australia, there are approximately 8,000 cases of paracetamol poisoning each year while the UK and Wales see approximately 70,000 cases every year.”

“For those patients requiring treatment, most will need to stay at least a day in hospital which can be problematic as many of these patients also suffer from mental illness,” added Dr Wong.

“Dr Wong is the first PhD student in the Monash Emergency Research Collaborative in the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health undertaking clinical research in toxicology,” said supervisor and Director, Monash Clinical Toxicology Service Professor Andis Graudins.

“We are very proud of Dr Wong’s NHMRC scholarship achievement and excited about his research assessing modified treatment regimens with acetylcysteine, as well as validation of hepatotoxicity risk assessment tools in various types of paracetamol poisoning.”

Professor Graudins said that modification of treatment regimens based upon risk of developing liver toxicity will result in more individualised treatment for patients and have significant impacts on length of medical treatment and subsequent time to mental health assessment and treatment after deliberate self-poisoning.

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