Acetaminophen is commonly found in over the counter medications which as described by Medline Plus are used “to relieve mild to moderate pain from headaches, muscle aches, menstrual periods, colds and sore throats, toothaches, backaches, and reactions to vaccinations (shots), and to reduce fever”. Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in the widely advertised Tylenol of McNeil Consumer Healthcare.
There is a common misconception that this drug is perfectly safe because of its colorful marketing and because you can buy this drug without a prescription. This is simply not true. There are possible side effects with Tylenol as with any drug and caution should be taken when using this drug. The following are listed as some of the side effects of acetaminophen by Medline Plus: rash, hives, itching, swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs, hoarseness, and difficulty breathing or swallowing. If you experience any of these or other side effects while taking acetaminophen you should call your doctor immediately.
Medline Plus goes on to explain that acetaminophen overdose is one of the most common poisonings worldwide. This drug can be deadly if it is taken in large doses. Medpage Today has reported “Acetaminophen Leading Culprit in Drug-Induced Liver Injury”. If you suspect an overdose of acetaminophen you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
In order to reduce the risk of acetaminophen overdose Chris Page has reported for MedPage Today “Tylenol Maker Lowers Maximum Dose“. McNeil Consumer Healthcare has announced it is lowering the maximum daily dose instructions for Extra Strength Tylenol to six pills a day (3,000 mg).The recommended maximum dose has been eight pills a day (4,000 mg). This fall the revised instructions for Extra Strength Tylenol will appear on packages. Beginning in 2012 McNeil, a Johnson & Johnson company, also has plans to lower the maximum daily dose for Regular Strength Tylenol and other adult acetaminophen-containing products.
This action by McNeil follows an FDA advisory panel recommendation that the FDA place a “black box” warning on prescription medications which combine acetaminophen with another drug. These would include pain medications that combine acetaminophen with hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (Percocet), or codeine (Tylenol 3). The FDA has since mandated that drug makers include no more than 325 mg of acetaminophen in each tablet or capsule of combination pain medications. That change is to be phased in over three years. The FDA has also said it has been looking into adding dosing instructions to acetaminophen-containing medications which are given to children younger than 2.
Mandel News Service