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Haematologica. 2006 Dec;91(12):1621-7.

Interaction between paracetamol and warfarin in patients: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study.

Author information

1
Unité de Recherches Thérapeutiques, Hôpital Lariboisière, 2, rue Ambroise Paré, 75010 Paris, France. isabelle.mahe@lrb.aphp.fr

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Paracetamol (acetaminophen) has occasionally been reported to interact with warfarin. The primary end-point of this study was to investigate whether paracetamol initiation potentiates the anticoagulant effect of warfarin and the mechanism of the interaction.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

In a double-blind placebo-controlled, randomized, cross-over study, 20 patients on stable oral anticoagulant therapy with warfarin for at least 1 month were randomized to receive placebo or paracetamol 1g four times daily for 14 days. International Normalized Ratio (INR) and clotting factors activities were measured before the first administration and then on days 2, 4, 7, 9, 11,14.

RESULTS:

Mean INR rose rapidly after the start of paracetamol and was significantly increased within one week of paracetamol intake compared to placebo, p=0.0002. The INR values reached a mean maximum of 3.45+/-0.78 with paracetamol versus 2.66+/-0.73 with placebo (p=0.03), corresponding to a maximum increase from baseline of 1.20+/-0.62 with paracetamol versus 0.37+/-0.48 with placebo (p<0.001). Together with the rise in INR on paracetamol treatment there were significant reductions in the vitamin K-dependent clotting factors II, VII, IX and X.

INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS:

The most plausible hypothesis to explain the in vivo interaction is that paracetamol (or its metabolites) interfere with enzymes involved in vitamin K-dependent coagulation factor synthesis. Paracetamol at 4 g daily (a dose higher than that used in clinical practice) potentiates the anticoagulant response produced by warfarin. Clinicians should be aware of this clinically significant and underestimated interaction.

PMID:
17145598
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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