Johnson & Johnson is reducing the maximum daily dose of its Extra Strength Tylenol pain reliever to lower risk of accidental overdose from acetaminophen, its active ingredient and the top cause of liver failure. According to the company’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division, the change affects Extra Strength Tylenol sold in the U.S. This is one of many products in short supply in stores due to a series of J&J recalls. Beginning this fall, labels on Extra Strength Tylenol packages will list the maximum daily dose as six pills, or a total of 3,000 milligrams, down from eight pills a day, or 4,000 milligrams.
Beginning next year, McNeil will also reduce the maximum daily dose for its Regular Strength Tylenol and other adult pain relievers containing acetaminophen, the most widely used pain killer in the country. Besides Tylenol, acetaminophen is the active ingredient in the prescription painkillers Percocet and Vicodin and in some nonprescription pain relievers, including NyQuil and some Sudafed products. It’s found in thousands of medicines taken for headaches, fever, sore throats and chronic pain.
But most folks who take multiple medicines have no concept of how much acetaminophen they are taking in. In fact, most folks buy based on Tylenol ads and don’t have a clue about the drug’s content. Prescription drug labels often use the abbreviation “APAP” which is very confusing. Two years ago, a panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration called for sweeping restrictions to prevent accidental fatal overdoses of acetaminophen. The FDA finally announced in January it would cap the amount of acetaminophen in Vicodin, Percocet and other prescription pain killers at 325 milligrams per capsule – just under half the 700 milligram maximum of some products on the market then. The agency also said it was working with pharmacies and other medical groups to develop standard labeling for acetaminophen. As we have reported on numerous occasions, excessive use of acetaminophen can cause liver damage. In the U.S., it’s blamed for about 200 fatal overdoses and sends 56,000 people to the emergency room each year.
Source: WSFA Television News and Associated Press
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