Pre-Hospital use of Paracetamol in the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital Paediatric Outpatient Clinic

Woroma Wonodi *

Department of Paediatrics, Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria and Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medical Sciences, Rivers State University, Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Boma Awoala West

Department of Paediatrics, Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria and Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medical Sciences, Rivers State University, Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Background: Paracetamol is a medication that is often procured over the counter in many nations including Nigeria. It is therefore prone to abuse/misuse with consequences.

Objective of the Study: To determine the prevalence of pre-hospital use of paracetamol, preferred formulation, appropriateness of dosing and factors associated with its use.

Methodology: An observational study involving 401 caregiver/child pair seen at the Paediatric clinic of the RSUTH over 6 months. Data on demography, clinical symptoms, weight of the children as well as pre-hospital paracetamol use were obtained using a semi-structrured questionnaire. Informed consent was obtained from the caregivers.

Results: A total of 401 caregivers/child pairs participated in the research with male predominance. The average age of the children was 28.26 ± 3.80months. Most of the parents were aged 30-40 years, traders/businessmen with tertiary level of education.

About 40% of children received paracetamol before presentation at the hospital with fever being the most common reason. Syrup was the preferred formulation while 0.6% received injection paracetamol. The most common reason for formulation type was the age of the child followed by available paracetamol formulation at home. Most parents gave paracetamol twice daily, for less than seven days and based on past experiences.

The most common diagnosis among parents that gave paracetamol was malaria. A quarter of children received underdose and 5.4% overdose medication.

Conclusion: Pre-hospital paracetamol self-medication is common with syrup paracetamol being

the most common formulation used. There was a high abuse of paracetamol thus education of the populace on appropriate pre-hospital paracetamol use would help reduce this menace.

Keywords: Abuse, paracetamol, pre-hospital, self-medication, pharmaceutical drug, anti-inflammatory

How to Cite

Wonodi, Woroma, and Boma Awoala West. 2024. “Pre-Hospital Use of Paracetamol in the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital Paediatric Outpatient Clinic”. Asian Journal of Pediatric Research 14 (6):27-36.


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