Paracetamol overdose is the commonest cause of acute liver failure in the UK, which has led to measures to restrict its sale. We aimed to establish whether changes in the referral of patients with paracetamol-induced acute liver failure have occurred since the introduction of legislation. We compared data from patients admitted to the Scottish Liver Transplantation Unit in 1992-98 with those admitted in 1998-2001. The incidence of paracetamol-induced liver failure, severity of patients' illness, and outcome did not differ between the groups. Patients with paracetamol-induced acute liver failure had higher Carstairs scores (1.99 [95% CI 1.33-2.65]; n=190) than patients with non-paracetamol acute liver failure (0.02 [-0.79 to 0.84]; n=68). We have shown an association between paracetamol-induced acute liver failure and social deprivation.