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Confusion over Proposed Tylenol Restrictions

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Dr. Ernest Levister, Jr.
Proposed restrictions on Tylenol, the world’s best known painkiller has left many consumers fearful, confused, and wondering where to turn to relief. Recently, there have been reports about acetaminophen, Tylenol’s main ingredient, and the potential for liver damage if the medicine is misused or taken in overdose amounts.

The Food and Drug Administration is weighing changes that would lower the maximum over-the counter Tylenol dose and would ban two narcotic painkillers, Vicodin and

Percocet, which also contain acetaminophen. The potential government crackdown on acetaminophen, would affect everyone from occasional pain poppers to chronic pain suffers.

What do people need to know about acetaminophen and liver damage? The drug when taken as directed remains the safest pain reliever people can take. The key is dose.

Do not use more Tylenol than is recommended. An overdose of Tylenol can cause serious harm.

The maximum amount of acetaminophen for adults is 1 gram (1000 mg) per dose and 4 grams (4000 mg) per day. Taking more acetaminophen could cause damage to your liver. If you drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day, talk to your doctor

before taking Tylenol and never use more than 2 grams (2000 mg) per day.

Do not use this medication without first talking to your doctor if you drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day or if you have had alcoholic liver disease (cirrhosis).

Before using Tylenol, tell your doctor if you have liver disease or a history of alcoholism.

Do not use any other over-the-counter cough, cold, allergy, or pain medication without first asking your doctor or pharmacist.

Acetaminophen (sometimes abbreviated as “APAP”) is contained in many combination medicines. If you use certain products together you may accidentally use too much acetaminophen.  Read the label of any other medicine you are using to see if it contains acetaminophen or APAP.

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