Mum, 58, dies after accidentally overdosing on Lemsip

·News Reporter
·3-min read

A 58-year-old mum has died after accidentally overdosing on paracetamol by drinking too much Lemsip.

In December, Joan Ita Bergin, from the UK, had been suffering from a cough for about a week, so she decided to consume the common cold and flu medicine, along with paracetamol, to help manage her symptoms.

But on Christmas Day, her son noticed her condition had deteriorated and Mrs Bergin was rushed to the hospital.

She died 13 days later after being diagnosed with liver failure, according to local media reports.

Lemsip medicine on shelf with paracetamol
The woman died after overdosing on paracetamol, which is found in the cold and flu medicine Lemsip. Source: Getty

The recommended maximum dose of Lemsip is one sachet, which contains 1,000mg of paracetamol, every four to six hours.

An inquest held at Preston Coroner's Court on Thursday heard Mrs Bergin was drinking Lemsip every four hours, but also admitted to taking more than the recommended amount of paracetamol at times.

Before her death, Mrs Bergin had been vomiting coffee-coloured bile with tests revealing she had "significantly elevated" liver enzymes and low oxygen levels, Metro reports.

At the hospital, Mrs Bergin was given Parvolex, a medication to treat paracetamol overdose, but she continued to vomit blood, the inquest heard.

Mrs Bergin was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit but her condition worsened.

After doctors at Leeds General Infirmary advised that there were no more treatment options available, the 58-year-old mum died on January 7.

Her cause of death has been noted as multiple organ failure, pneumonia and acute liver failure secondary to unintentional paracetamol overdose, Metro reports.

Coroner's findings: 'Misadventure'

Mrs Bergin's son Matthew said his mum was "in good health normally," Assistant Coroner Kate Bisset quoted him saying.

"But she rarely ate much, one full meal per week, and otherwise she would snack on things such as marmalade on toast. She drank plenty of water but had on occasions fainted due to lack of food," she said.

Woman sick on couch
Mrs Bergin was rushed to the hospital on Christmas Day. Source: Getty (stock image)

Matthew reportedly said in a statement that his mum would drink three to four cans of cider each weekday and up to 10 cans on weekends.

The coroner concluded that Mrs Bergin died as a result of misadventure.

A spokesperson for Lemsip manufacturer Reckitt warned consumers they should not exceed more than four sachets in 24 hours, and to leave at least four to six hours between doses, Metro reports.

"The safety information and instructions for use are always reflected on the packaging and information leaflets," they said.

"As with any medication, we would remind consumers and their caregivers to carefully read and follow the instructions provided on the packaging and patient information leaflet of all our medicinal products."

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