Repeated Acetaminophen Can Cause Infant Liver Failure

In case study, intravenous N-acetylcysteine therapy improved child's clinical condition

TUESDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Acetaminophen is generally considered child-safe, but repeated doses in infants can result in acute liver failure, according to a case report published online Jan. 17 in Pediatrics.

Francesco Savino, M.D., Ph.D., of the Ospedale Infantile Regina Margherita in Turin, Italy, and colleagues reported on one infant with acute liver failure associated with acetaminophen administration.

The researchers write that, over 10 days, the patient had ingested a total dose of 720 mg (72 mg/kg per day), which resulted in elevated aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels, encephalopathy, and an increased ammonium level. The child's clinical condition and laboratory test results improved rapidly after intravenous N-acetylcysteine therapy.

"Health care providers should be aware that multiple doses of acetaminophen in infants may lead to acute hepatic failure. N-acetylcysteine therapy should be initiated in cases of drug-induced acute liver failure," the authors write.

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