New research finds that the combination of acetaminophen paired with alcohol — even if consumed moderately or lightly — can increase the risk of kidney dysfunction, according to new research released today at the American Public Health Association’s 141st Annual Meeting in Boston.

Results from the study indicated that neither taking a therapeutic amount of acetaminophen nor consuming a light to moderate amount of alcohol posed a particularly greater risk to an individual’s kidneys. However, when taken in combination with one another, results showed a 123 percent increase in risk of kidney dysfunction.

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“Pain is the most common symptom among the general public and is also most frequently self-treated with acetaminophens,” noted Harrison Ndetan, lead researcher of the study. “Where this becomes a greater concern is among young adults, who have a higher prevalence of alcohol consumption. These findings highlight a serious concern among health professionals who deal frequently with pain patients, particularly those with mild pain who are more susceptible to consuming both.”

The study analyzed data from the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which captured responses from more than 10,000 participants. Survey questions inquired about alcohol consumption, use of acetaminophen and health conditions. Data was then applied to capture estimates for the general U.S. population affected by the factors of interest.


  1. The above story is reprinted from materials provided by American Public Health Association (APHA), via Newswise.
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