Yesterday, the makers of Tylenol, Johnson & Johnson, have agreed to put a warning label on all bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol.? It states “Contains acetaminophen.? Always read the label.“? This comes amidst growing concern by the company regarding lawsuits being filed by people suffering liver damage and death associated with the use and abuse of acetaminophen.? While generally considered safe when taken occasionally and in small doses, acute overdoses and chronic consumption of acetaminophen can cause liver toxicity.
In fact, according to a University of Washington study, acetaminophen overdose is the leading cause of acute liver failure in this country!
While many of these cases result from an overdose, even ?correct dosage? may cause liver damage, liver failure and death.? In the United States alone, approximately 56,000 liver injuries requiring emergency treatment, 26,000 hospitalizations and 458 deaths per year are attributed to acetaminophen consumption.2 The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently considering measures to decrease the number of cases of unintentional and intentional overdose leading to liver injury, including limiting the maximum adult daily dose in both prescription and over-the-counter medications and improving labeling.? This step by the Tylenol makers is the first in a series of reforms to inform the public just how dangerous overuse of the drug can be.
Initial signs and symptoms of acetaminophen toxicity are nausea and vomiting, so it?s hard to identify it immediately. In some cases, liver toxicity may develop without symptoms.
One of the main problems with this popular medication is how easy it is to overdose unintentionally. In addition to being the primary ingredient in Tylenol, acetaminophen is also contained in almost 200 brand-name and generic products?from headache and backache pills to cold and flu remedies and sore throat medications?most of which are available over the counter.? Generally patients will have the ?if one is good, two is better? philosophy or they will often opt for the ?Extra Strength? version increasing their risk even more.
To avoid liver damage from acetaminophen:
?Do not take more than 1 gram (1,000 mg) of
acetaminophen at once.
?Do not exceed 4,000 mg of acetaminophen in
24 hours. (The FDA is considering reducing
the adult maximum daily dose to 3,250 mg,
and even further reducing the amount for
chronic alcohol users.)
?Always check to see if over-the-counter or prescription
medications contain acetaminophen.
The Best Bet:
Patients often rely on medications to treat acute and chronic pain, but they should always check with a health care provider first to see if safer options are available.? The Doctors at Sport & Spine Rehab are experts in drug free pain relief which is safer and more effective at treating the most common conditions resulting in the need for medications.? In fact, according to the American College of Physicians, the most effective treatment for acute lower back pain is spinal manipulation.? For chronic back pain, it is a combination of spinal manipulation and exercise.? Sport & Spine provides the perfect blend of chiropractic care and physical therapy to not just get you out of pain, but to help improve your biomechanical functioning in a safe and effective manner.? With 7 offices in the D.C. Metro area, come in to discover a world of drug free living with improved functioning and better quality of life!
Dr. Riccardo Tersigni D.C., CKTP, BA
Doctor of Chiropractic
Sport & Spine Rehab McLean
?To be the trusted leader in enriching the health and well-being of the public, one life at a time.?
Larson AM, et al. Acetaminophen-induced acute liver failure: results of a United States multicenter,
prospective study. Hepatology 2005;42:1364-1372.
American College of Physicians:? http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=736814