Tylenol is the most popular pain killer in America, with billions of the tablets and capsules sold each year.
Acetaminophen is the generic name for Tylenol, and is found in well over 200 commonly available over the counter medications, including DayQuil® and Tylenol®.
Acetaminophen-related liver injuries (Acetaminophen Injury) result in over 56,000 emergency room visits each year, 26,000 hospitalizations each year, and over 450 deaths.
Acetaminophen is the number one cause of acute liver failure in the United States. New data and studies reveal that Tylenol (generic names acetaminophen and paracetamol) is associated with varying degrees of liver damage and liver failure.
Acetaminophen is 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 may also be used to relieve the pain of osteoarthritis.
The result of an Acetaminophen or Tylenol overdose (and sometimes even from normal dosage) can be devastating. More such cases are being reported in the United States each year.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), acetaminophen may be linked to liver damage, liver failure, or death from liver disease.
The FDA has issued limits on the amount of Acetaminophen allowed in any medication as well as mandating that a “black box” warning label be applied to the packaging.
Acetaminophen overdose is the most common form of acute liver failure in the United States today. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently recommends that anyone consuming more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day should not take acetaminophen or other over-the-counter pain medications.
The Tylenol warning was issued after a research report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found numerous adverse health effects including:
Liver damage can occur after taking Tylenol for only 4 days
44% of Acetaminophen patients show signs of liver enzyme abnormalities
To prevent liver damage, individuals should take no more than 2 grams of Acetaminophen within 24 hours
Acetaminophen may account for up to 50% of liver injury cases
Risk of overdoses occurring when dieting, drinking alcohol, or mixing medications
Dangers of Tylenol
Tylenol/Acetaminophen was approved as a pain medication in the United States in 1950, and the drug was allowed to go over-the-counter in 1959. Recently the Advisory Committee to the FDA voted that the single adult acetaminophen dose should be reduced from 1,000 mg (two extra-strength Tylenol) to 650mg. The advisory committee expressed concern because many people may unknowingly take multiple combinations of drugs that each contains acetaminophen when they are sick.
In 1975, an extra-strength version of Tylenol was approved by the FDA. Extra Strength Tylenol contains 500 mg of acetaminophen per tablet. When an individual takes two tablets as instructed, he is ingesting 1000 mg or 1 gram of acetaminophen per dose. The maximum daily dose is 4 g or 8 Extra Strength Tylenol.
The label for Extra Strength, states that the individual should take “two Extra Strength Tylenol every four to six hours, but should not exceed eight tablets in a 24-hour period.” If an individual is taking Tylenol every four hours as instructed, they will reach the maximum daily dose in 16 hours, which can lead to potential liver injury. Medical research indicates that the vast majority of people receive pain relief with just the 325 mg Regular Strength Tylenol.