FDA Issues New Warning About Acetaminophen & Liver Damage

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IMG_0216_r_JessicaNashPhotographed By Jessica Nash.

Attention, extra-strength Tylenol fiends: It might be time to make the switch to a different pain-management option. The FDA has announced that all prescription products containing over 325 milligrams of acetaminophen should be banned.

According to the agency, excessive acetaminophen intake has been causing an increasing number of cases of acute liver failure — so many, in fact, that acetaminophen poisoning has become the second most common cause of liver failure requiring a transplant in this country. And, the organization asserts that any acetaminophen dose in excess of 325 mg doesn't provide any additional pain relief.

Hawk-eyed readers will remember that the FDA made a previous announcement about the dangers of excessive acetaminophen several months ago. But, that warning was limited to prescription meds that contain the drug (like Percocet or Vicodin), and the danger of mixing them with over-the-counter acetaminophen-based painkillers or cold, flu, and allergy treatments (like Nyquil and Benadryl). This week's statement makes it very clear that the agency takes the risk of liver damage from acetaminophen — even garden-variety extra-strength tablets — very seriously. Maybe it's time we should, too. (Los Angeles Times)