Acetaminophen: The Not So Harmless Medication

man-holding-pills-and-glass-water-thumb

Acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol®) is found in many over-the-counter and prescription medications used to treat pain and fever. Although often considered a “harmless” drug, acetaminophen overdose is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the US. Acetaminophen is frequently found in combination products such as Vicodin® and many cold & allergy medications. It is important to read medication ingredient labels to identify all sources of acetaminophen (which is sometimes called APAP or a variety of names resembling acetaminophen) since overdose often occurs when patients simultaneously take multiple products containing acetaminophen.

The FDA has recommended reducing the maximum daily adult dose of acetaminophen to 3,250 milligrams per day. Healthy adults who have taken the maximum dose of acetaminophen for just two weeks have been found to have liver damage. Drinking alcohol while taking acetaminophen can increase the risk of toxicity since both are metabolized by the liver.

The FDA is asking healthcare professionals to stop prescribing combination prescription pain relievers that contain more than 325 mg of acetaminophen per dosage unit, citing the risk for liver damage. By limiting the maximum amount of acetaminophen in prescription and OTC products, patients will be less likely to overdose on acetaminophen if they mistakenly take too many doses of acetaminophen-containing products.

If you realize that too much acetaminophen has been taken, call 911 immediately. Signs or symptoms of liver damage are often not noticeable for hours or even days and by the time symptoms occur, damage may be severe and could even lead to death.

It’s also helpful to select cough and cold remedies that do not contain acetaminophen, to reduce the risk of accidental acetaminophen overdose.

If you need a medication but can’t take an adequate dose because it is combined with acetaminophen in the commercial product, we can help by compounding a preparation that is acetaminophen-free.

We are here to help if you have any questions. Please call The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills and speak with one of our friendly pharmacists.

 

 

 

Sourced by Patti Storey

Featured Posts

collagen_supplements_collagen_powder-1024x768

Benefits of Collagen

Collagen powder has been gaining interest recently. Although it is often thought of as just a beauty product to help with skin aging, the benefits go far beyond.  What Exactly is Collagen? This insoluble protein accounts for a majority of  the protein in our body and is found mostly in skin, muscle, bone and connective tissue. […]

cat hypertension

Managing Your Cat’s High Blood Pressure

Although your cat may seem to have little reason for stress or high blood pressure, feline hypertension is a serious yet common health threat to many house cats. High blood pressure in cats can occur without any discernible cause; however, it is typically a symptom of another disease. Hypertension can commonly occur in both kidney […]

compounding pharmacist

Benefits of Compounding Medication for Patients With Allergies

If you have reactions to certain types of allergens, you have to be very careful about what you consume. The severity of allergic reactions can vary; they can range from a short bout of minor itching to a full-blown episode of anaphylactic shock. You also have to be very careful about the medication you take. […]