The number of tablets in paracetamol packets such as Panadol will be reduced under a ruling announced by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on Wednesday.
The maximum size of packs sold in stores will fall from 20 to 16. It will come into effect in February 2025.
The TGA published its final rulings on Wednesday about proposed changes to the regulation of some medicines in Australia.
The maximum packet size sold in pharmacies will also reduce from 100 to 50. Quantities up to 100 could still be sold with the supervision of a pharmacist. These will be put into place alongside the new general sale limits.
There are no new limits on how many packets an individual customer can buy in one transaction.
How many paracetamol overdoses in Australia?
The TGA estimates about 225 people are admitted to Australian hospitals from paracetamol overdoses every year, with 50 dying from an overdose.
An independent report ordered by the TGA and completed last year found increasing rates of intentional paracetamol overdoses in Australia, particularly in adolescents, young adults, and females. This came amid rises in intentional overdoses among young people across the world.
It put forward steps to prevent stockpiling, including dropping the number of pills in a paracetamol pack, and limiting the number of packs that can be bought at once.
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Poisons information centre: 13 11 26