New Zealand-born woman Joan Ita Bergin dies after accidentally overdosing on Lemsip

A New Zealand-born mother-of-one has died from liver failure after drinking too much Lemsip and unintentionally overdosing on paracetamol.

Joan Ita Bergin, 58, was living in the United Kingdom last December when she developed a cough and bad chest that lasted for close to a week, the Daily Mail reported.

During that time she took Lemsip cold and flu drink to manage the symptoms.

But on Christmas Day, Bergin’s son called an ambulance after seeing his mum’s condition deteriorate.

Bergin had been vomitting coffee-coloured bile and was found to have low oxygen levels and “significantly elevated” liver enzymes, the Daily Mail reported..

The mother-of-one was taken to intensive care and diagnosed with liver failure.

However, she continued to deteriorate and died on January 7.

An inquest was held into Bergin’s death at the UK’s Preston Coroner’s Court.

It was told that Bergin also drank alcohol excessively.

Her son Matthew said in a statement that his mum drank three to four cans of cider each day before work and up to 10 cans at weekends.

He also said his mum was generally in good health but didn’t eat much.

“She drank plenty of water but had on occasions fainted due to lack of food,” Assistant Coroner Kate Bisset said of Matthew’s testimony.

Bergin was drinking a sachet of Lemsip every four hours and told health teams she had had more than the recommended paracetamol intake at times, the inquest heard.

Each Lemsip sachet contains 1000mg of paracetamol.

Lemsip NZ says people should take no more than four sachets in 24 hours.

Consultant Patrick Horgan said in a statement to the inquest that Bergin was diagnosed with a liver injury due to unintentional paracetamol overdose, the Daily Mail reported.

The coroner concluded that “Joan Ita Bergin died on January 7, 2022, at the Royal Preston Hospital of multiple organ failure caused by an unintentional paracetamol overdose”.

A spokeswoman from Reckitt, the company that makes Lemsip, gave a statement to the Daily Mail.

“We are very saddened to hear about Joan [Ita] Bergin’s case,” the spokeswoman said.

“We send our deepest sympathies to her family.

“At Reckitt, consumer safety is our top priority. We work closely with the MHRA and PAGB, alongside other relevant associations, to ensure all safety and packaging requirements are met for Over-The-Counter products that contain paracetamol, such as Lemsip.”

“The safety information and instructions for use are always reflected on the packaging and information leaflets.

“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.

“In respect of Lemsip Max Sachets we would like to remind consumers to not exceed more than four sachets in 24 hours, to leave at least four to six hours between doses, if symptoms persist for more than three days or worsen to consult a pharmacist and to call a doctor immediately if they take too much.”

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