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Warnings for painkillers

Acetaminophen or paracetamol is one of the most popular pain medications in the world for treating fevers and headaches. Most U.S. homes would have a pack of Tylenol in the cupboard!

On July 1st, the FDA was advised by a panel to recommend a ban on Percocet and Vicodin. The FDA has not made a decision as yet. The popular drugs are prescribed for pain and contain a narcotic and acetaminophen.

It’s the growing concern over the safety of acetaminophen that prompted the panels advice to ban them.

What’s the problem with acetaminophen or paracetamol ?

The problem with acetaminophen or paracetamol is the possibility of liver problems if you take too much. Acetaminophen is found in many over the counter medications for headaches, colds, and flu. Many do not realize that common medicines like Nyquil and Excedrin can contain acetaminophen.

People who have the flu often take both cold medicines and Tylenol not realizing that the cold medicine already has acetaminophen in it. This is when too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage.

Is it really a problem?

Yes! Between 1998 and 2003 the most common cause of acute liver injury was acetaminophen. In the United States, it’s is estimated that almost 400 people die and 42,000 patients are hospitalized due to an overdose.

What else do I need to know?

  • Don’t take acetaminophen if you take warfarin.
  • Read the medication labels before you take them! Look for acetaminophen, APAP or paracetamol.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dose.
  • Don’t take any if you drink 3 or more alcoholic drinks a day, before checking with your doctor.

Note: Acetaminophen is considered to be safe in recommended doses for most people. If you have any concerns about the medications you take, please see your doctor.

For more information see the FDA Acetaminophen and Liver Injury: Q & A for Consumers.

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About Kellie

Kellie is 37 years old and together with her brother Steve makes up the My Health Software team.

She helps on the websites and gathering news for the programs. Kellie worked in the medical industry prior to having her two children (8 and 6) and has a strong interest in self awareness and management of health conditions.


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