Drug Tylenol’s risks – Are you aware?

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Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, is a commonly available over-the-counter pain reliever. Incidentally, other available drugs like NyQuil, Robitussin, Excedrin also contain Tylenol.

Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, is a commonly available over-the-counter pain reliever. Incidentally, other available drugs like NyQuil, Robitussin, Excedrin also contain Tylenol.

But perhaps the risks associated with the drug overuse are essentially overlooked, a new poll has found. Tylenol overdose is potentially dangerous, researchers have warned.

“The active ingredient in Tylenol is contained in many different products, and despite what the product is called, it may contain acetaminophen,” AGH pharmacist Michael Korcynski averred.

The study

To check if the general public was aware of the safety warnings regarding Tylenol, the Princeton Survey Research Associates International conducted a telephonic survey of 1,003 adults.

Surprisingly, 51 percent of the respondents were not aware of any safety warnings associated with Tylenol. 35 percent of these respondents deemed mixing Tylenol with other acetaminophen containing drugs, a practice called ‘double-dipping’, to be safe.

While 49 percent respondents knew about the dangers of overdosing, they were unaware of the real problem caused by excessive consumption of the drug.

But 68 percent correctly answered that acetaminophen overdose can cause liver damage, while 55 percent said overdosing on the medicine could result in death.

A sizable large portion of those surveyed, 54 percent, were aware of the warning about mixing Tylenol and alcohol. According to the FDA recommendations, acetaminophen should not be taken after three drinks as alcohol makes the liver susceptible to damage from acetaminophen.

Too much Tylenol will destroy your liver
Double-dipping often results in Tylenol overdose, researchers have warned. Over 600, including commonly used prescription drugs such as Vicodin and Percocet, contain acetaminophen, regulators have said.

The FDA’s maximum recommended daily dose of acetaminophen is 4 grams, an equivalent to eight extra strength acetaminophen pills.

Taking as little as 25 percent (between 5 and 7.5 grams per day) more than the maximum recommended dose of the drug can result in acute liver failure.

“Read and follow the label, taking too much can lead to liver damage, and don’t take two products at the same time,” said Emily Skor, vice president of communications for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, an industry group representing McNeil.

McNeil is a division of Johnson & Johnson, manufacturers of the Tylenol. The company dabbles in television advertisements, education campaign and posters for doctors’ offices to create awareness about acetaminophen. “McNeil has been a leader in educating doctors and providing materials about overdose and misuse of medicines containing acetaminophen,” the company said in a statement. It said that its “acetaminophen awareness messages have been seen over one billion times.”

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