Your head may be throbbing, but your body can’t handle as much Advil as you are tempted to take.
The popular painkiller acetaminophen—which can be found in over the counter products such as Extra Strength Tylenol and Advil — is raising cause for concern. According to the recent article in USA Today, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) plans to implement regulatory action on over-the-counter acetaminophen.
The agency has already made moves to limit high dosage use of the drug in prescription medication—these combination products usually consist of acetaminophen and opioid painkillers, such as hydrocodone and codeine. Strong painkillers such as these are often prescribed after serious injuries, surgeries, and dental procedures.
The FDA will soon stop approving combination prescription medications containing more than 325 mg of acetaminophen: there is no data proving that a dosage of 325 mg provides benefits that outweigh the health risks.
Some non-prescription painkillers, like Extra Strength Tylenol, already have 500 mg of acetaminophen in each pill. Tylenol’s maker, Johnson & Johnson, announced the addition of warning labels to bottle caps to catch consumers’ attention and remind them to read the label for safety instructions.
These precautions stem from the long-standing concern that acetaminophen causes severe liver damage. The FDA stated that “limiting the amount of acetaminophen per dosage will reduce the reduce the risk of severe liver injury from inadvertent acetaminophen overdose, which can lead to liver failure, liver transplant, and death.”
These accidental overdoses send 56,000 people to the hospital and kills about 500 people every year—the drug is the leading cause of acute liver failure. Most liver damage cases have occurred in patients who took more than the maximum dose of 4,000 mg in 24-hours.
Many consumers are still unaware of the dangerous side effects of over-using the drug sitting in the medicine cabinets of a majority of American households, which explains the movement toward warning labels and regulations. Acetaminophen is often the go-to drug for headaches and other aches and pains—but being aware of the dangers is becoming as important as the drug is popular.
If you are ever prescribed pain killers after a major or minor surgery or injury, be sure to discuss with your doctor whether acetaminophen is included in the prescription and how high the dosage is. Your liver will thank you.
If you feel as though you weren’t properly warned or informed of the effects of a drug or pharmaceutical, and your health is affected, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your options.