What the FDA Has to Say about the Dangers of Acetaminophen
The news is out that the FDA is making some changes when it comes to Acetaminophen, the ingredient used in Tylenol as well as other over the counter pain killers. You’ve probably used this remedy time after time to cure a headache – without knowing the danger. But because of the potential for liver damage if used improperly, the FDA is starting to clamp down on the sale of these popular (and potentially harmful) over the counter pain remedies.
U.S. health advisers have recommended that the maximum dosage of acetaminophen be lowered. In addition to being found in Tylenol, acetaminophen is also found in Excedrin and some other pain killing drugs often labeled as the “store” brand.
A recent report by the US Food and Drug Administration indicated that liver damage can occur for those who use this drug incorrectly or take too much of it. While aspirin and ibuprofen are linked to stomach problems, acetaminophen is easier on the stomach. However, the potential for liver damage and even death is now outweighing acetaminophen’s stomach-friendly formula.
There are several problems with taking the drug acetaminophen. While it can be very useful to eliminate the occasional headache or pain, many people take more than the recommended dosage at one time, or are constantly using it to ease pain – both of which can lead to extensive liver damage. In addition, some other drugs - as well as alcohol - when combined with the use of this drug can even make the liver damage more severe.
The FDA voted to lower the amount of the drug that is available to consumers over the counter. Extra Strength Tylenol is one drug that will be affected by the new ruling. The single dose of acetaminophen, according to the new rules of the FDA is 650 milligrams. A single dose of the current Extra Strength Tylenol is currently at 1000 milligrams.
The FDA also considered restrictions against other products that are sold over the counter such as Nyquil or Theraflu, because they contain acetaminophen. However, this move was voted down.
While the occasional pain reliever or cold reliever can be helpful to many people, there are a great many people who tend to over-use these remedies. Many people are unaware of the fact that over the counter drugs can lead to any health complications because of the very fact that they are sold over the counter. This is despite the many consumer education campaigns that are out there. Most of those who overuse and end up with liver complications from this drug will do so accidentally.
The lowering of the levels of acetaminophen in drugs such as Tylenol should not affect the general public, but may protect those who are unaware of the damage that too much of these drugs can cause the liver. This may also lead those who habitually take drugs that contain acetaminophen to look for alternate ways to try healing pain, instead of reaching for potentially harmful options the moment they feel a twinge of pain.
If you currently have a supply of acetaminophen-containing products in your medicine cabinet, you may want to re-visit your use of those products.