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Acetaminophen / aluminum hydroxide / aspirin / caffeine / magnesium hydroxide Side Effects

Applies to acetaminophen / aluminum hydroxide / aspirin / caffeine / magnesium hydroxide: oral tablet

Hepatic

Alcoholic patients may develop hepatotoxicity after even modest doses of acetaminophen. In healthy patients, approximately 15 grams of acetaminophen is necessary to deplete liver glutathione stores by 70% in a 70 kg person. However, hepatotoxicity has been reported following smaller doses. Glutathione concentrations may be repleted by the antidote N-acetylcysteine. One case report has suggested that hypothermia may also be beneficial in decreasing liver damage during overdose.

In a recent retrospective study of 306 patients admitted for acetaminophen overdose, 6.9% had severe liver injury but all recovered. None of the 306 patients died.

One study has suggested that acetaminophen may precipitate acute biliary pain and cholestasis. The mechanism of this effect may be related to inhibition of prostaglandin and alterations in the regulation of the sphincter of Oddi.

Cases of acute pancreatitis have been reported rarely with the use of acetaminophen.

A 19 year old female developed hepatotoxicity, reactive plasmacytosis and agranulocytosis followed by a leukemoid reaction after acute acetaminophen toxicity.[Ref]

Hepatic side effects including severe and sometimes fatal dose dependent hepatitis have been reported in alcoholic patients receiving acetaminophen. Hepatotoxicity has been increased during fasting.

Cases of aspirin induced hepatotoxicity and cholestatic hepatitis, particularly at high doses, have been reported rarely.[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Gastrointestinal side effects have been rare with the use of acetaminophen, except in alcoholics and after overdose.

Constipation (secondary to aluminum hydroxide therapy) and diarrhea (secondary to magnesium hydroxide therapy)have been reported. These agents are combined so lower doses may be used and the constipating and diarrheal effects may be balanced out. However, diarrhea appears to be the dominating effect, regardless of the ratio. Rarely, gastrointestinal obstruction has occurred with the use of aluminum hydroxide.

Gastrointestinal side effects have been common and have included epigastric distress (in as many as 83% of patients treated with regular aspirin), abdominal discomfort or pain, endoscopically identifiable gastric mucosal lesions, nausea, and vomiting. More serious gastrointestinal effects include hemorrhage, peptic ulcers, perforation, and esophageal ulcerations.[Ref]

Alcoholic patients may develop hepatotoxicity after even modest doses of acetaminophen. In healthy patients, approximately 15 grams of acetaminophen is necessary to deplete liver glutathione stores by 70% in a 70 kg person. However, hepatotoxicity has been reported following smaller doses. Glutathione concentrations may be repleted by the antidote N-acetylcysteine. One case report has suggested that hypothermia may also be beneficial in decreasing liver damage during overdose.

In a recent retrospective study of 306 patients admitted for acetaminophen overdose, 6.9% had severe liver injury but all recovered. None of the 306 patients died.

One study has suggested that acetaminophen may precipitate acute biliary pain and cholestasis. The mechanism of this effect may be related to inhibition of prostaglandin and alterations in the regulation of the sphincter of Oddi.

Cases of acute pancreatitis have been reported rarely with the use of acetaminophen.

A 19 year old female developed hepatotoxicity, reactive plasmacytosis and agranulocytosis followed by a leukemoid reaction after acute acetaminophen toxicity.[Ref]

General

Sources of aluminum in patients with renal failure have included water used for dialysate solutions, in addition to aluminum hydroxide. Adverse effects of aluminum accumulation in these patients has led to monitoring of water source aluminum content by dialysis units and periodic measurements of serum aluminum in patients undergoing chronic dialysis.

High aluminum concentrations in patients are generally also associated with high daily dosage. One study suggested that increased aluminum concentrations in uremic patients was most significant with daily doses greater than 3 grams of aluminum hydroxide. Age of the patient has also been directly correlated with aluminum concentrations, with younger age groups perhaps demonstrating higher concentrations.

Concurrent administration of aluminum hydroxide with citrate containing products has been associated with unusually high serum concentrations of aluminum and, especially in cases of renal failure, severe toxicity. It was speculated that citrate increases aluminum's solubility and absorption.

Aluminum concentrations during aluminum hydroxide therapy have also been correlated with body iron stores. One study demonstrated a negative correlation between serum aluminum concentrations and serum ferritin levels. It was postulated that high serum ferritin and high transferritin saturation might hamper gut absorption of aluminum.

During long-term use, aluminum has been shown to deposit in bone, joints, and the brain of patients who accumulate aluminum.

Signs and symptoms of hypermagnesemia may include hypotension, nausea, vomiting, EKG changes, respiratory depression, altered mental status, and coma.[Ref]

General side effects including caffeinism have been reported. Consumption of higher doses of caffeine (>600 mg/day) has been reported to have lead to caffeinism. Caffeinism is a syndrome characterized by anxiety, restlessness, and sleep disorders (similar to anxiety states). It has also been reported that chronic, heavy caffeine ingestion may be associated with depression. Caffeine may cause anxiety and panic in panic disorder patients and may aggravate PMS.

Although the majority of aluminum ingested is eliminated by the gastrointestinal tract, absorption of aluminum and increases in serum concentrations have been demonstrated. Accumulation of aluminum and resulting toxicity is confined to patients with renal dysfunction and impaired elimination of aluminum.

Many side effects noted with aspirin use are dose-related.

Magnesium may be systemically absorbed following administration of magnesium hydroxide. In patients with normal renal function, increased magnesium elimination in the urine occurs and no significant changes in serum magnesium levels would be expected. However, magnesium may accumulate in patients with renal insufficiency.[Ref]

Renal

Renal side effects have been rare with acetaminophen use and have included acute tubular necrosis and interstitial nephritis. Adverse renal effects are most often observed after overdose, after chronic abuse (often with multiple analgesics), or in association with acetaminophen related hepatotoxicity.

Renal side effects with the use of aluminum hydroxide have rarely included formation of renal calculi, most probably due to hypercalciuria.

Renal side effects of aspirin have included reduction in glomerular filtration rate (particularly in patients who are sodium restricted or who exhibit diminished effective arterial blood volume, such as patients with advanced heart failure or cirrhosis), interstitial nephritis, papillary necrosis, elevations in serum creatinine, elevations in blood urea nitrogen, proteinuria, hematuria, and renal failure.[Ref]

The mechanism of an aspirin induced decrease in renal function may be related to inhibition of renal prostaglandin synthesis with consequent decreases in renal blood flow. Vasodilating renal prostaglandins may be particularly important in patients who exhibit arterial underfilling (i.e. heart failure, cirrhosis). The administration of high doses of NSAIDs to such patients has produced acute renal failure in rare instances.

Acetaminophen: Acute tubular necrosis usually occurs in conjunction with liver failure, but has been observed as an isolated finding in rare cases. A possible increase in the risk of renal cell carcinoma has been associated with chronic acetaminophen use as well.

A case control study of patients with end stage renal disease suggested that long term consumption of acetaminophen may significantly increase the risk of end stage renal disease particularly in patients taking more than two pills per day.[Ref]

Hypersensitivity

The mechanism of aspirin induced hypersensitivity may be related to an up-regulation of the 5-lipoxygenase pathway of arachidonic acid metabolism with a resulting increase in the products of 5-lipoxygenase (such as leukotrienes).[Ref]

Hypersensitivity side effects such as anaphylaxis and fixed drug eruptions have rarely been reported in association with acetaminophen use.

Hypersensitivity side effects of aspirin have included bronchospasm, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, urticaria, angioedema, and anaphylaxis. Approximately 10% to 30% of asthmatics are aspirin sensitive (with the clinical triad of aspirin sensitivity, bronchial asthma, and nasal polyps).[Ref]

Hematologic

Hematologic side effects of aspirin (in addition to predictable antiplatelet effects which may result in hemorrhage) have included increased blood fibrinolytic activity. In addition, hypoprothrombinemia, thrombocytopenia, thrombocyturia, megaloblastic anemia, and pancytopenia have been reported rarely. Aplastic anemia has also been reported.

Rare cases of thrombocytopenia associated with acetaminophen have been reported. Methemoglobinemia with resulting cyanosis has also been observed in the setting of acute overdose.[Ref]

Dermatologic

Dermatologic side effects from the use of aspirin including Stevens-Johnson syndrome and a lichenoid eruption have been reported rarely.

Erythematous skin rashes associated with acetaminophen have been reported, but are rare. Acetaminophen associated bullous erythema and purpura fulminans have been reported. Acetaminophen has been associated with a risk of rare but potentially fatal serious skin reactions know as Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), and acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP).[Ref]

Respiratory

Respiratory side effects including hyperpnea, pulmonary edema, and tachypnea have occurred in patients receiving aspirin.

A case of acetaminophen induced eosinophilic pneumonia has been reported.[Ref]

Cardiovascular

Two cases hypotension have been reported following the administration of acetaminophen. Both patients experienced significant decreases in blood pressure. One of the two patients required pressor agents to maintain adequate mean arterial pressures. Neither episode was associated with symptoms of anaphylaxis. Neither patient was rechallenged after resolution of the initial episode.[Ref]

Cardiovascular side effects of aspirin have been reported rarely and have included salicylate induced variant angina, ventricular ectopy, conduction abnormalities, and hypotension, particularly during salicylate toxicity.

Several cases of hypotension have been reported following the administration of acetaminophen.[Ref]

Metabolic

Metabolic side effects have included hypophosphatemia with the use of aluminum hydroxide. In patients on long-term aluminum hydroxide therapy, especially in association with poor diets, hypophosphatemia may result in muscle weakness, rhabdomyolysis, hemolysis, and encephalopathy.

Metabolic side effects of aspirin have included dehydration and hyperkalemia. Respiratory alkalosis and metabolic acidosis, particularly during salicylate toxicity, have been reported. A case of hypoglycemia has also been reported in a patient on hemodialysis.[Ref]

Aluminum hydroxide complexes with phosphate in the gut to form insoluble aluminum phosphate, thus inhibiting the absorption of dietary phosphate. Aluminum hydroxide is commonly used in patients with renal dysfunction to regulate the accumulation of phosphate due to decreased elimination.

Hypophosphatemia is thought to stimulate the conversion of calcifediol (25-hydroxy vitamin D3) to calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3), a potent stimulator of calcium and phosphorus intestinal absorption and osteoclastic resorption. Hypercalciuria is generally associated with hypophosphatemia.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included encephalopathy which has occasionally been reported in patients with renal failure on long-term therapy with aluminum hydroxide. When available, basal and/or deferoxamine stimulated aluminum serum levels reveal high concentrations.

Nervous system side effects in patients receiving aspirin have included agitation, cerebral edema, coma, confusion, dizziness, headache, cranial hemorrhage, lethargy, and seizures. Some investigators have reported that modest doses may result in decreased frequency selectivity and may therefore impair hearing performance, particularly in the setting of background noise.[Ref]

Encephalopathy associated with aluminum accumulation is generally characterized by speech disorders, dysarthria, dyspraxia, dysphasia, tremor, myoclonus, seizures, coma, and death. EEG of patients with aluminum encephalopathy has shown paroxysmal slowing, and diffuse rhythmical bursts of delta activity.

The interval between commencement of aluminum hydroxide therapy and development of encephalopathy in eight reported cases ranged from three weeks to three months. In two of these patients, aluminum serum concentrations ranged from 871 to 2267 mcg/L. These patients were on concomitant sodium citrate therapy. Most chronic dialysis patients develop aluminum encephalopathy slowly over several years.

Regarding the use of aspirin, some investigators have suggested that tinnitus may be a less reliable indicator of salicylate toxicity than previously believed. Patients with high frequency hearing loss may have difficulty perceiving tinnitus. In a study of rheumatoid arthritis patients, those with tinnitus had no greater salicylate levels than those without tinnitus. Elderly patients may be less likely to perceive tinnitus than younger patients.[Ref]

Other

Reye's syndrome typically involves vomiting, neurologic dysfunction, and hepatic dysfunction during or shortly after an acute viral infection.[Ref]

Other side effect have also been reported. In one study of the effects of caffeine, 634 women with fibrocystic breast disease (compared to 1066 women without the disease), the occurrence of fibrocystic breast disease was positively associated with average daily consumption of caffeine. Women who consumed 31 to 250 mg/day of caffeine were reported to have a 1.5 times increase in odds to have the disease. Women who consumed over 500 mg/day of caffeine were reported to have a 2.3 times increase in odds.

Reye's syndrome, although rare, has been associated with aspirin use in children with an acute viral illness. Reye's syndrome has also been reported even more rarely in adults.

Prolonged labor and pregnancy, decreased infant birth weight and stillborn births, antepartum and postpartum bleeding have occurred due to aspirin use by women during the third trimester of pregnancy.[Ref]

Musculoskeletal

Aluminum hydroxide associated hypophosphatemia, if severe and chronic, results in decreased bone mineralization and potentially osteomalacia. Hypophosphatemia is also thought to stimulate the conversion of calcifediol (25-hydroxy vitamin D3) to calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3), a potent stimulator of osteoclastic resorption, contributing to osteomalacia. These patients generally require phosphorus replacement therapy. Symptoms of osteomalacia may take several weeks to resolve.

Osteomalacia due to aluminum deposition in bone is generally only seen in patients with chronic renal failure. Bone formation slows in response to aluminum bone deposits. Aluminum may also deposit in joint tissue, resulting in arthropathy and hydrarthrosis.[Ref]

Musculoskeletal side effects have included osteomalacia, due to aluminum hydroxide, which may occur by two different mechanisms. Osteomalacia may occur due to hypophosphatemia or due to aluminum accumulation in bone. Osteomalacia due to hypophosphatemia is often accompanied by malaise, bone pain, muscular weakness, and bone fractures. Osteomalacia due to aluminum deposition may present in a similar fashion and occurs predominantly in patients with chronic renal failure. Aluminum deposits are seen on bone biopsy.

Musculoskeletal side effects including rhabdomyolysis have occurred in patients receiving aspirin.[Ref]

Endocrine

Endocrine side effects of aspirin use have included hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.[Ref]

Ocular

Ocular side effects including cases of localized periorbital edema have been reported rarely in patients receiving aspirin.[Ref]

Oncologic

Oncologic side effects from aspirin have been reported. Several epidemiologic studies have suggested that chronic aspirin use may decrease the risk of large bowel neoplasms. However, other studies have not found this beneficial effect.[Ref]

References

1. Lanas A, Serrano P, Bajador E, Esteva F, Benito R, Sainz R "Evidence of aspirin use in both upper and lower gastrointestinal perforation." Gastroenterology 112 (1997): 683-9

2. Gursoy M, Haznedaroglu IC, Celik I, Sayinalp N, Ozcebe OI, Dundar SV "Agranulocytosis, plasmacytosis, and thrombocytosis followed by a leukemoid reaction due to acute acetaminophen toxicity." Ann Pharmacother 30 (1996): 762-5

3. Lee WM "Medical progress: drug-induced hepatotoxicity." N Engl J Med 333 (1995): 1118-27

4. "Product Information. Amphojel (aluminum hydroxide)." Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, Philadelphia, PA.

5. "Multum Information Services, Inc. Expert Review Panel"

6. Sawynok J "Pharmacological rationale for the clinical use of caffeine." Drugs 49 (1995): 37-50

7. Weberg R, Berstad A, Aaseth J, Falch JA "Mineral-metabolic side effects of low-dose antacids." Scand J Gastroenterol 20 (1985): 741-6

8. Fung MC, Weintraub M, Bowen DL "Hypermagnesemia: elderly over-the-counter drug users at risk." Arch Fam Med 4 (1995): 718-23

9. "Product Information. Bayer aspirin (aspirin)." Bayer, West Haven, CT.

10. Perneger TV, Whelton PK, Klag MJ "Risk of kidney failure associated with the use of acetaminophen, aspirin, and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs." N Engl J Med 331 (1994): 1675-79

11. Cooke N, Teitelbaum S, Avioli LV "Antacid-induced osteomalacia and nephrolithiasis." Arch Intern Med 138 (1978): 1007-9

12. Kawada A, Hiruma M, Noguchi H, Ishibashi A "Fixed drug eruption induced by acetaminophen in a 12-year-old girl." Int J Dermatol 35 (1996): 148-9

13. Shoenfeld Y, Shaklai M, Livni E, Pinkhas J "Thrombocytopenia from acetaminophen." N Engl J Med 303 (1980): 47

14. Filipe PL, Freitas JP, Decastro JC, Silva R "Drug eruption induced by acetaminophen in infectious mononucleosis." Int J Dermatol 34 (1995): 220-1

15. Brown G "Acetaminophen-induced hypotension." Heart Lung 25 (1996): 137-40

16. Sideman S, Manor D "The dialysis dementia syndrome and aluminum intoxication." Nephron 31 (1982): 1-10

17. Boyle CA, Berkowitz GS, LiVolsi VA, Ort S, Merino MJ, White C, Kelsey JL "Caffeine consumption and fibrocystic breast disease: a case-control epidemiologic study." J Natl Cancer Inst 72 (1984): 1015-9

18. Netter P, Kessler M, Burnel D, Hutin MF, Delones S, Benoit J, Gaucher A "Aluminum in the joint tissues of chronic renal failure patients treated with regular hemodialysis and aluminum compounds." J Rheumatol 11 (1984): 66-70

Not all side effects for acetaminophen / aluminum hydroxide / aspirin / caffeine / magnesium hydroxide may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

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