A recent investigation found that nearly all of the paracetamol tablets sold in Nigeria are possibly underdosed, falling short of the requirements specified by the British Pharmacopoeia and the World Health Organization (WHO)
The 2023 study, titled ‘Comparative Analysis of Five Different Brands of Paracetamol Sold in Nigeria with British Pharmacopoeia Standards,’ stated that samples from five different paracetamol brands, each claiming to contain 500mg, were tested and analyzed using the spectrophotometric method.
The concentrations ranged from 185mg to 358mg, which was much lower than the suggested 500mg limit.
The study’s researchers voiced concern about the possibility of treatment failure due to underdosed paracetamol tablets.
They emphasized that this topic had not received sufficient attention, possibly as a result of the perception that the practice is safe.
“Considering the current demands for cost-effective therapy, a prescribing and underdosing habit that could lead to treatment failure is of potential concern,” the researchers wrote.
“They can lead to poor patient outcomes, polypharmacy, and a large expense to the healthcare system,” they added.
Paracetamol, which is widely used in Nigeria for its analgesic qualities, is a basic pain reliever.
However, the study’s findings raise questions about the drug’s efficacy, which could be attributed to insufficient amounts of the active ingredient in the tested tablets.
The study, which was published in the journal Communication in Physical Sciences, emphasizes the importance of increased awareness and regulatory scrutiny to ensure the quality and efficacy of pharmaceuticals 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.