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Campaign To Combat Accidental Overdose Launched

Media Release

Date: 22nd August 2010

Care Chemist Launches National Campaign To Combat Accidental Overdose Of Pain Medication

Care Chemist has launched a nationwide campaign to highlight the danger of accidentally taking too much pain medication, as well as providing education on how the risk can be minimised. The health drive comes after two children in New Zealand required liver transplants earlier this year after being given an incorrect dosage of paracetamol.

To support the initiative, Care Chemist will be providing all customers with a free Pain Control Wheel to help them remember when to take their next dose of over the counter pain medication.

‘We know that accidental overdose of painkillers is a serious problem,’ explains Care Chemist spokesperson, Antony Wentworth. ‘The National Poisons Centre lists paracetamol as the most common substance in the poisoning of children under five, accounting for about 65 per cent of its calls. In the past five years the centre has been alerted to 1814 children under seven accidentally taking paracetamol, 389 of them needing medical help.

‘There were also 617 notifications of children accidentally taking ibuprofen, with 97 requiring medical help, and 731 notifications of children accidentally taking aspirin, of whom 122 needed medical help. These figures clearly indicate that people are not using painkillers correctly.

‘Different medications have varying requirements and it can be hard to remember which medication needs to be taken at which time, let alone when you are in pain and wanting some relief from your discomfort,’ adds Antony. ‘However, it is very important to learn how much of which medication you need to take, at which time. Following the directions can mean the difference between feeling better and suffering serious side effects.’

The Pain Control Wheel is a simple tool. The outer wheel shows time of day and the inner wheel shows the different types of over the counter medication. The person using the wheel simply rotates the inner wheel so that their first dose of medication (either paracetamol based or ibuprofen based) is aligned with the time of their first dose. The wheel will then show the correct time to take their next dose.

The wheel will also help people understand how to combine ibuprofen and paracetamol based products, safely and effectively, when they require stronger pain relief. Correct dosage and the correct interval between doses are essential when combining these medications. The wheel shows when to take the next dose of pain relief regardless of which type of pain medication was taken first.

The New Zealand Self Medication Industry (NZSMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products, has warned that parents and caregivers need to ensure that overuse is not a factor, especially in very young children, and advises them to talk to a GP or pharmacist if no improvement is seen within 24 hours.

Pain Control Wheels will be available in participating Care Chemists from 23rd August until 12th September. On top of that, Care Chemists will be on hand to discuss any issues and possible solutions with their customers.

For more information on Care Chemist, visit


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