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FDA examines...Tylenol® dosage
FDA examines...Tylenol® dosage It is imperative to administer only the recommended dose.

The FDA recently re-examined the recommended doses of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol®. Acetaminophen is the most common pain reliever and fever reducer in the United States, yet the drug is the leading cause of liver toxicity.

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The maximum daily dose of acetaminophen has been 4000mg per 24 hours. However, studies have shown that taking this dose consistently for a few days can elevate liver enzymes to upwards of three times the normal limit indicating swift liver damage. This risk can be compounded exponentially by alcohol and/or caffeine consumption, as well as by those who already suffer from liver disease making the maximum recommended “safe” dose potentially toxic. Because of this risk, the FDA has decided to reduce the maximum recommended amount.

The problem lies in the fact that acetaminophen overdose is accidental many times because people do not realize that acetaminophen is an active ingredient in many OTC (over the counter) and prescription products.

Over-the-counter acetaminophen is contained in, not only all Tylenol® products, but is “hidden” in other over-the-counter products as well. Nearly all cough & cold products like Coricidin® and Comtrex® or flu-relieving products like Nyquil® contain acetaminophen because it is such an effective analgesic and fever reducer. In addition, how many people take Tylenol PM® to help them sleep? Even the Tylenol Arthritis formulas contain double the standard dose of acetaminophen per tablet.

Common prescription analgesics such as Lortab®, Vicodin®, Percocet®, and Darvocet® contain acetaminophen in combination with a narcotic analgesic. For chronic pain sufferers, a physical tolerance to the narcotic requires increasing doses to alleviate pain. If the narcotic dose is increased, the acetaminophen dose is also incrementally increased thereby raising the likelihood of toxicity.

Unintentional overdose typically arises from the combination of acetaminophen-containing OTC and acetaminophen-containing prescription products. The bottom line: read the labels! Read all of the labels! Even liquid pediatric products may contain differing concentrations of acetaminophen per dose, so it is imperative to administer only the recommended dose. And remember, if ever you are unable to determine the correct dose of acetaminophen or any medication, please ask your pharmacist.

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"FDA examines...Tylenol® dosage"
   authored by:
PHARMACY
Tamara Dulin, R.Ph., is a registered pharmacist with Nightingale Home Health Care in Carmel, Indiana. A 1991 graduate of Butler University College of Pharmacy, she has spent the majority of her career in consulting. She is a past president of the Ind...



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