Acetaminophen is Getting a Closer Look

Acetaminophen (ACM) is the most popular over the counter drug for pain relief in the United States. There was an estimated twenty nine billion units sold in 2005. Twenty nine BILLION! Whoa, that is a lot.

The FDA recently released a report urging stronger warnings and stricter dose limits for drugs, like Tylenol® that contain ACM. The concern here is the apparent liver failure that people are experiencing after taking drugs with ACM in it. Research has shown that hundreds of people are experiencing liver failure and approximately 100 die each year from overdose whether intentional or unintentional.

One of the major problems is that people don’t realize how many products contain ACM. There are currently over 200 products that you may not even think about. Products like….Robituson®, Alka Seltzer Plus® and Sudafed®.

When the max recommended amount is 4,000 milligrams, one can see how it is not too hard to exceed that when one isn’t feeling well.

Now onto the rant portion of the blog.

I am not licensed to dispense drugs, I cannot legally give you advice, etc. What I am about to share is my opinion and should no way be construed as advice from an MD.

In my humble opinion most of this stuff is crap. It is bad for you, it covers up symptoms and does damage to vital organs. Do I understand there are situations where you need to take it…of course.

However, there is a large portion of the population that are taking these drugs for the completely wrong reason. If you need to take 4 Tylenol® before tennis and 4 Tylenol® after tennis just so you can play….STOP PLAYING.

Let’s assume that it is your neck that is bugging you. If you take the 4 Tylenol&reg before and after, you can swing the racket pain free. If you don’t you can’t. Now we know the pills aren’t fixing the problem, they are just covering it up.

One question then, “What is causing the pain?”

Shouldn’t we look into that?

“Oh, Doc I don’t have the time”….”It will go away”……”I think it is genetic, my mom used to get this when she played tennis”

Look you may not have the time now, but I can assure you, if you keep covering this problem up, you will have time in the future……your body will make sure you get it fixed.  I have seen this too many times.  What starts out as a small problem, can very easily escalate into a major problem if you keep patching it up.

End rant.

The experts say these drugs are safe if taken as they are intended and I don’t doubt them. When you sell 29 million units and only a small number of people get real sick from them, the problem is small. What I am more worried about is the prevailing attitude that we can just patch stuff up and it will go away.

Sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t, do you want to gamble with your liver, kidneys, etc?

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