The FDA has recently announced a new warning and guideline for the use of Acetaminophen. This new warning states that improper or overuse of this particular drug can cause serious liver damage and in some cases liver failure. While I am not shocked about the general concept that a medication is harmful to your body, what is completely appalling is that the FDA has gone even further to recommended taking no more than 325mg in one sitting! They have stated that taking more than this amount in one sitting can cause “potential for severe liver failure” and is not recommended.
Acetaminophen is most common in the drug Tylenol. Do you know what the Tylenol box suggests for dosage for the average adult?? 2 tablets every 4-6 hours, or 650mg every 4-6 hours!!!!! That’s 1950-2600mg per day! And do you know how many people take Tylenol each year? It is estimated that Americans alone take over 8 billion pills of Tylenol each year. This number is absolutely staggering. This drug has been marketed to us constantly since 1955 as something that is as safe as candy. People have been buying bulk sizes of this product as Costco and taking them daily to counteract any little ache and pain they may have. Now the public is being told that this ‘safe’ drug can cause serious liver damage in dosages smaller than what is recommended on the Tylenol box. And it’s not just Tylenol. Here are some other common drugs taken millions of time each year that contain acetaminophen:
Alka-Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels®
TYLENOL® Brand Products
Tylenol® with Codeine
What’s even worse is that if the person taking acetaminophen has a compromised immune system or has alcohol while taking these medications the effect is magnified. So, if you are sick and not feeling well and take Tylenol for your headache or back pain, the effects to your liver are even more serious! If you have alcohol with this drug you are also greatly increasing your risks of kidney damage or failure.
I think it is time for the general public to wake up and realize that the medications that have become so commonplace are causing serious harm. While medications are very important and useful in certain situations their use has become far too routine. Instead of being used as a last resort they have become the first option for most people. This mindset has got to change. These pills do nothing but cover up underlying problems in the body and in the process cause increased damage. All medications should be used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary. Just because your doctors feels it is necessary to write you a prescription each time you see him/her, doesn’t mean you have to take it. Next time you are going to take a prescription or even over the counter drug please think twice. Damaging your liver to mask your headache pain doesn’t seem like a good bargain. Instead, figure out why you are having pain and eliminate the cause. This is many times easier than you think and can be done without medications and with no side effects!