Acetaminophen (paracetamol), a widely used analgetic drug, is well tolerated at therapeutic doses, but may cause severe hepatotoxicity when ingested in large overdose. Self-poisoning is still very popular in adults and accidental ingestion of one single overdose occurs occasionally in children. In contrast, lethal intoxication in children after repeated administration of therapeutic doses is a very rare event. This case report describes an iatrogenic acetaminophen overdosing in a 5-year-old child receiving 8.5 g acetaminophen in 48 h. Fulminant liver failure developed within 60 h. Autopsy findings included panlobular liver cell necrosis. Acetaminophen serum levels were rather low compared to cases with ingestion of one single overdose. Postmortem diagnosis of chronic acetaminophen intoxication as cause of death should include the clinical history as well as, if available, the calculated drug serum half-life.
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