Preferred Sample Type


Suitable Specimen Types



Specimen Volume

2 mL blood

Sample Preparation

Centrifuge specimens

Turnaround Time

1 Hour (with urgent request)

Sample Processing In Laboratory


Sample Stability

Specimens are stable for at least 14 days when stored at 4ºC

General Information

Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is a common drug used in many formulations due to its analgesic and antipyretic properties. Chronic excessive use of paracetamol can result in hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity. Over dosage can lead to severe hepatic damage and hepatic failure if untreated. Early diagnosis of paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity is important since initiation of therapy within 16 hours of ingestion lessens the potential for hepatic injury and decreases the mortality rate. Therefore, a rapid and accurate determination of paracetamol is needed.

Patient Preparation

Paracetamol measurement is only required when overdose is suspected. Samples should not be taken until 4 hours has elapsed since time of ingestion.

. Please contact the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) website ( which provides NHS healthcare professionals with a 24-hour, year-round clinical toxicology information service. The paracetamol nomogram can be found at:


Haemolysed or grossly lipaemic samples will not be analysed.

The method does not measure the common metabolites of paracetamol (glucuronide, sulphate, cysteine and mercapturate)



Reference Range

Not Applicable - use in overdose only


  • EQA Status: NEQAS
  • EQAS Scheme: Yes

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