Paracetamol - serum
Last updated: Friday, 04, June, 2010
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5 mL blood in plain tube collected, ideally 4 hours after ingestion of the paracetamol.
A second specimen collected at least 2 hours later can be used to measure paracetamol half-life.
Spectrophotometry, chromatography, or immunoassay.
| Reference Interval|
Toxic range: >1,300 µmol/L (195 mg/L) 4 hours after ingestion of paracetamol.
Assessment of toxic overdose.
Toxicity is more likely and occurs at lower plasma levels in patients with pre-existing liver disease.
Calculation of half-life (from two specimens) is also a useful guide to hepatotoxicity as prolongation of half-life is a good predictor of the risk of development of acute hepatocellular damage.
Dargan PI and Jones AL. Trends Pharmacol Sci 2003; 24(4): 154-157.