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Acetaminofen

Posted by althea z4 MN (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 21, 13 at 11:53

Pro Publica & This American Life teamed up for this extensive report on the known dangers of acetaminofen and the FDA's unwillingness/inability to make people aware of the dangers. The story reminds me of our current battle to get gmo's labeled. Hopefully, this article will at least start to make people aware of the problems, since our regulatory agency has been mostly ineffective.

Here is a link that might be useful: use only as directed


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Acetaminofen

I get from the article that Acetaminophen is perfectly safe when taken in recommended doses. You can cause damage to your body any time that you take medicines other than as directed. I'm not sure what you would have done?


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RE: Acetaminofen

Althea, I heard the program last night on the radio.

I was struck by how long it took for written warnings as loss of sales trumped public safety.

I had no idea that there had been so many cases of liver damage and deaths.

So safe -- not.


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RE: Acetaminofen

mrskjun, here's the thing:

'Taken over several days, as little as 25 percent above the maximum daily dose ��" or just two additional extra strength pills a day ��" has been reported to cause liver damage, according to the agency. Taken all at once, a little less than four times the maximum daily dose can cause death. A comparable figure doesn't exist for ibuprofen, because so few people have died [26] from overdosing on that drug.'

'Perfectly safe' it is not.
The margin between recommended dosages & fatal dosages is just way too narrow, & if your liver isn't functioning perfectly, or if you have a glass of wine, bang, you're dead.

A colleague of mine lost her 20-something year old daughter to Tylenol.
The girl had a toothache & couldn't afford to go to an emergency dentist over the week-end, so she kept taking those 'perfectly safe recommended dosages' & died.


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RE: Acetaminofen

I had a friend who had a bad back and used to take Tylenol in regular doses for the pain. He was a only a weekend / moderate drinker but his liver went bad and he passed away. I always suspected that Tylenol may have complicated or even caused the liver damage and maybe it did.


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RE: Acetaminofen

This American Life comes on this afternoon here. I'll listen to it as well. I had heard about many deaths from liver failure, but never a number and didn't know it was so high. I suspect that there is a huge under count because of stories like Heri's. I have also read a study that said normal, healthy people, non drinkers, started to develop the liver enzymes responsible for the damage after only 4 days taken according to instruction. So I think blaming alcohol, or being lead to believe it is strictly because of alcohol although it is a problem is another way to blame the victim and delay regulation.


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RE: Acetaminofen

I always suspected that Tylenol may have complicated or even caused the liver damage and maybe it did.

I wouldn't be at all surprised that it caused the liver damage. When I was about to be discharged from the hospital in November, after 12 days recuperating from everything that could have happened after hernia surgery, my surgeon stressed (and I mean stressed) that I should not drink alcohol if I was taking acetaminophine. I avoid it entirely now (the pill, not the alcohol).


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RE: Acetaminofen

Yes, prolonged ingestion or heavy doses of the stuff are killer on kidneys, liver, and can cause a lot of damage. The problem is, most doctors regularly prescribe it, or meds with large doses of it... even though we do have medications available without it.


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RE: Acetaminofen

There is a some sort of equation/formula with alcohol and Tylenol. Take near the maximum dose of Tylenol and have a drink or two, it can be very risky. Or drink like a sailor on shore leave and have two x 500 mg tylenol for you headache, same thing.

We've just about stopped taking it around here. Advil seems to work as well or better, then there's the old stand by aspirin, not to mention vitamin I, aka ibuprofen, for when you fall down the stairs or something.


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RE: Acetaminofen

I always wonder why a person would follow the advice in some of these pain reliever ads on TV. They stress that you can get all-day pain relief with only TWO of the (Advil or whatever). No thanks. I'll take the lower strength in a small dose first and possibly a second dose. If I need to take six pain pills a day...I need medical help.

(Now I'm flashing on Vioxx -- pain pill removed from the market. I was prescribed that years ago...before I had the needed hip replacement.)


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RE: Acetaminofen

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 21, 13 at 16:43

Aleve is the 2 per day pain pill. Neither Aleve nor Tylenol helps me with back or other pains (glad they didn't) but Advil works good here.


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RE: Acetaminofen

We've just about stopped taking it around here. Advil seems to work as well or better, then there's the old stand by aspirin, not to mention vitamin I, aka ibuprofen, for when you fall down the stairs or something.

Advil is ibuprofen.
Unfortunately, I can no longer take ibuprofen or naproxen sodium (Aleve), because my kidneys can't handle it.
I have known for years about the risk of liver damage with acetaminophen, especially taken with alcohol, so used ibuprofen for my occasional back pain until my doctor told me that it was effecting my kidneys.
I don't take pain relievers often, except when I have a flare up with my back.
I'll have to ask her if I can take aspirin.


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RE: Acetaminofen

It's good to know what your taking and many people don't realize the various drugs they are taking may also contain acetaminophen.

These all contain acetaminophen.

Actifed®
Alka-Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels®
Anacin®
Benadryl®
Cepacol®
Contac®
Coricidin®
Dayquil®
Dimetapp®
Dristan®
Excedrin®
Feverall®
Formula 44®
Goody’s® Powders
Liquiprin®
Midol®
Nyquil®
Panadol®
Robitussin®
Saint Joseph® Aspirin-Free
Singlet®
Sinutab®
Sudafed®
Theraflu®
Triaminic®
TYLENOL® Brand Products
Vanquish®
Vicks®
Zicam®

These prescription drugs also contain it

Butalbital
Endocet®
Fioricet®
Hycotab
Hydrocet®
Hydrocodone Bitartrate
Lortab®
Oxycodone
Percocet®
Phenaphen®
Sedapap®
Tapanol®
Tramadol
Tylenol® with Codeine
Tylox®
Ultracet®
Vicodin®
Zydone®


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RE: Acetaminofen

Advil is ibuprofen. Oops! I meant Aleve.

I was reading a synopsis of this study - they pointed out that the recommended dose is pretty darn close to an overdose level. See link...

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Acetaminfen

I think it's common for many of us to think if a little medication is good, then a lot is better and that's not so. Acetamenophen, Ibuprofen and naproxen sodium are all toxic to the liver in amounts over the recommended dose.


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RE: Acetaminofen

Thanks, Joe...

Uh oh... Benadryl is on that list. Be very careful when giving to pets for allergies. In my opinion, better to find the culprit and eliminate it.

Back to people, though... there exist plenty of medicines made without acetaminophen.


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RE: Acetaminofen

Well if I take Robitussin which I won't because experience teaches me that it make me loopy almost acting like a drunk & it doesn't relieve the nasal congestion I might try an antihistamine with the Robitussin to relieve the stuffed up nose. That combination can be dangerous.
I'm a label reader unless I'm out of it on something like Robitussin.


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RE: Acetaminofen

I am baffled by this thread. I have taken Tylenol almost since it came out and was aware from the beginning that there were dangers to excessive use as there is on just about every medication in existence. Some medications I have had to take require that it be used rather than other common pain relievers such as aspirin or Advil. Since I am smaller than average I often cut the dosage. The same with many other OTC drugs.

If you are unaware of the possible bad effects of a medication and don't bother to check, you are possibly just too stupid to take it in the first place.


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RE: Acetaminofen

I took Tylenol once in the mid 80's to treat a headache induced by exhaust fumes from the power lawn mower. I felt even worse after the Tylenol. This wasn't long after I had a horrible reaction to a prescribed high dose of ibuprofen. We got a reel mower and I haven't taken Tylenol since except when I had codeine #3 because I didn't know what the #3, and once took 2 vicodin over a 12 hour period and ended up with a splitting headache so discontinued that. Because of the vicodin incident I ran into the study linked below about acetaminofen that I mentioned earlier in the thread. David's link also cites some studies on low dose damage.

If a natural supplement had this kind of track record it would banned immediately.

Here is a link that might be useful: jama


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RE: Acetaminofen

I never taken acetaminofen in my life. Even in hospital. Just read the package. I think it's criminal that medical providers recommend its use.


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RE: Acetaminofen

My opinion is that it can be useful but like any medication should be used judiciously. There are also problems associated with NSAIDs like ibuprofen and Naproxen, particularly if you have GI problems, NSAIDs can cause problems in the stomach. Too much aspirin can cause bleeding problems.

If a child has a fever, alternating acetaminophen and ibuprofen often gives better control of the fever. I like naproxen (Aleve) for pain caused by inflammation but acetaminophen works on other types of pain better. But, any type of pain needs to be understood and if it is chronic, should be evaluated by a physician. Everyone should read labels and be aware but it also should be noted in that list above, for some of those items, acetaminophen is only contained in certain formulations.


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RE: Acetaminofen

According to my doctor and everything I have ever read on the subject, you should not take Ibuprofen and then Tylenol even if over several hours. The two medications are not safe used in that manner. They are not normally used for the same conditions.


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RE: Acetaminofen

I still prefer plain old aspirin for general headaches... the only pain that many of the more powerful pain medications won't touch.

Different "pain relievers" work in different ways, and are specifically designed for different types of pain... or inflammation, as it were.

As a chronic pain patient, one soon figures out that one has no choice but to quickly become a bit of an "expert" on pain relievers and their pros and cons and various side effects and dangers through research... and while we all have our personal preferences, we should make ourselves very aware of the potential hazards of what sits benignly on the store shelf, and what we are each prescribed... if such is the case.

I don't think we can wholly rely on our government agencies, or even on a lot of the medical industry, many of whom seem somehow indebted to the pharmaceutical industry, and push their wares...


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RE: Acetaminofen

Sleepless, it is not unheard of for physicians to prescribe alternating doses of Tylenol and ibuprofen for fever control in children, they are effective used in that manner.

My favorite headache medicine is a mix of caffeine, aspirin and acetaminophen. It definitely works better than anything else I have used for headaches, but, even aspirin can cause problems with bleeding and I have to watch the amount and frequency as I end up with bloody noses and bruise even easier than normal. All medicines and supplements have potential side effects and it behooves everyone to be aware of them.


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RE: Acetaminofen

First of all, let me note that almost everything I've had to take in the past 5-10 years nowadays has all sorts of warnings about what could go wrong with all of them. Scary stuff. For me, it operates as a reminder that one should READ THE DIRECTIONS AND FOLLOW THEM. And I do, religiously!

I will double-check with my doctors at my next annual appointments about aspirin and Tylenol, just to be sure. I used to use aspirin as a general, all-purpose pain-reliever. A couple years ago my heart doctor said I should take ONE (and ONE only) aspirin in the morning, and if I needed pain relief the rest of the day, to take Tylenol. I assume the one aspirin in the morning has something to do with dissolving any potential clots (but it might be because I complained about a general achiness in the morning when I get up--I'm not sure which reason he used), but he definitely insisted that I only take ONE aspirin in the morning and not use it at all the rest of the day. He also specifically recommended Tylenol--not some non-aspirin pain reliever like Tylenol, but specifically Tylenol for other pain uses. I assume he had a reason and will check with him.

However, I rarely use pain relievers of any kind (other than the general achiness in the morning, and I don't always use a pain reliever even then). And the few occasions I use pain relievers, I often use them only half strength. So I'm not about to toss out my new bottle of Tylenol unless my doctor tells me to--but I will check with him (couple months from now).

For those of you getting all worried for me, I never drink (tee-totaller here) and I've never taken 6 or more pain relievers in a 24 hr. period and I've never taken pain relievers for 10 or more days (the maximum time period listed on the bottle)--I'd be in the doctor's office long before that if I were suffering from a pain that intensive and long-lasting, I assure you.

So thanks for the reminder to always be careful with ALL drugs/medicine, but I'm questioning just a bit how strongly some of you are reacting to the information. But I promise to keep an eye out for any problems and info. about what the govt . is doing in connection with this product. In the meantime, my bottle says "Taking more than the recommended dose (overdose) may cause liver damage." I've always taken such warnings seriously and have never been tempted to take more than is recommended.

Kate


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RE: Acetaminofen

like terri said if you have any kidney related problems you can't take anything but Tylenol...it's just I suffer with an ache or pain longer, sigh...


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RE: Acetaminofen

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 23, 13 at 19:18

I take the occasional aspirin, no prescription meds ... while in the hospital for my surgery I blew a vein and after several failed attempts to get another IV in me, I told them ENOUGH ... give me lots of water, I drink the stuff all day long anyway. "BUT BUT BUT if you don't have the IV you can't have your morphine" ... okay, take it away and if I have pain (which was bearable) I will live with it.

Look I have a high tolerance for pain and the drugs they gave me to take home were tossed anyway, one was percocet.

Thanks for the info


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RE: Acetaminofen

Since I have little choice but to mask pain on a constant basis, I much prefer medications that do not have acetaminophen in large quantities, if at all.

Low dose aspirin is a constant... one per day.


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RE: Acetaminofen

Off topic but mentioned above -- why give a child medicine to bring down a fever? Fever is the body's way of fighting whatever has invaded. Bringing down the fever prolongs the illness by not allowing the body to fight it. Yes I know it's what doctors recommend but it makes no sense. I've always ignored it and my kids and myself recovered quickly. I'm not talking about dangerously high fever that can cause other problems including death. If that's the case you should be in the hospital anyway.


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RE: Acetaminofen

The same could be said for the old fashioned idea of removing the tonsils and adenoids to combat continual sore throat and other issues. Better to leave in the small organs that are meant to take the brunt of infection, I say. Most kids outgrow the need for any removal.

We fought with our daughter's egg donor for years about her tonsils... and being custodial parents, we won. She's fine today, and still has her tonsils.


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RE: Acetaminofen

jill, it depends on the kids. My kids, I keep a close eye on the fevers and generally do not medicate them for it but some kids develop seizures with fever. My biggest concern with sick kids is generally giving them something to help them sleep.


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RE: Acetaminofen

There have been times I *wished* I would run a fever!

I also wish I could tolerate aspirin as I used to before developing sinusitis and asthma at age 30. Aspirin seems to work ON the inflammation. (I may be wrong, but I think acetaminofen acts in the brain -- masks the pain.)

The 'black box' warnings on acetaminofen are recent. I just pitched a small container from three years ago -- had no BIG warning.

It seems one problem here is that you may not realize you are taking too much acetaminofen because you are only counting the actual capsules of Tylenol or store brand -- not realizing it is in other things you may be taking at the same time. When you are ill, you're not in the best shape to be thinking straight anyway.

The difference between 'enough' and 'too much' is also very small, and can so quickly damage your 'innards' or outright kill you.

I'm picturing the giant bottles of acetaminofin sold in pairs at Costco. Does anyone need that much medication on hand'?


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RE: Acetaminofen

Isn't the removing of tonsils very old school? I had mine out. It was common then. But neither of my kids (27 and 12 years old) had theirs out and it was never even mentioned by their doctors.

tish - yes if seizures are an issue that's totally different.

I certainly don't mean to be giving medical advice since I'm not a doctor! It's my opinion we over medicate us and our kids. I am one that lets things run their course as long as there aren't immediate dangers. Seizures are certainly an immediate danger.


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RE: Acetaminofen

I think they remove the tonsils less frequently now. It is still done but less frequently than it once was. I too am in the crowd that feels we often over medicate. However, I also see people go the other direction, suffering more than they need to when sometimes it really is a simple medicine to fix. My mother has chronic pain issues and has been on methadone for it and that was necessary to function. She takes methadone much less frequently now that she is on Humira for her rheumatoid arthritis but that shot initially depressed her immune system so much she contracted shingles. A little Tylenol here and there does not compare to those problems.


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RE: Acetaminofen

The list above is not accurate.

Benadryl only contains diphenhydramine,

The ingredients in Actifed® are
PseudoephedrineHCl 60 mg ..................... Nasal decongestant

TriprolidineHCl 2.5 mg ............................. Antihistamine

I was going to search the rest of the list, but don't have the time. Many of those listed DO NOT contain acetaminophen.

Benadryl may market a product that also contains acetaminophen, but you can easily purchase the single ingredient (diphenhydramine)

It's important to read labels, and whenever possible use only a single ingredient medication. If you have a cough you don't need a multi symptom medicine that may contain and antihistamine, decongestant, pain reliever and cough suppressant. Buy the one that has just the cough suppressant.

Edited to add: There were lots of brands in the list above. Just because a brand is listed doesn't mean that all of their products contain acetaminophen, just that some of their products may contain it.

This post was edited by terriks on Tue, Sep 24, 13 at 21:30


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RE: Acetaminofen

My late Sister-in-Law was a hypochondriac. I don't even want to know how much OTC medication she used, including Tylenol over the years I knew her. She also enjoyed wine tasting parties and Winery tours and wine with special dinners. It was sophisticated. One day she was found in a coma. She died 8 days later having never come to. Diagnosis: cirrhosis of the liver and the hospital board refused to give her a transplant. The constant over medication was the most likely cause but the combination of that and alcohol was deadly. She was 57.

She also made her kids hypochondriacs. Thank goodness they seem to have managed to put a halt to it.

I don't have a problem with medications such as Tylenol or with casual alcohol consumption but too much is just stupidity and mixing anything can be hazardous. If you don't know for sure, DON'T. A little pain won't kill you. Save it for when it is really necessary.


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RE: Acetaminofen

My late Sister-in-Law was a hypochondriac. I don't even want to know how much OTC medication she used, including Tylenol over the years I knew her. She also enjoyed wine tasting parties and Winery tours and wine with special dinners. It was sophisticated. One day she was found in a coma. She died 8 days later having never come to. Diagnosis: cirrhosis of the liver and the hospital board refused to give her a transplant. The constant over medication was the most likely cause but the combination of that and alcohol was deadly. She was 57.

She also made her kids hypochondriacs. Thank goodness they seem to have managed to put a halt to it.

I don't have a problem with medications such as Tylenol or with casual alcohol consumption but too much is just stupidity and mixing anything can be hazardous. If you don't know for sure, DON'T. A little pain won't kill you. Save it for when it is really necessary.


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RE: Acetaminofen

No, a little pain shouldn't bother most people... but some of us don't fall into that category. There's a huge gap between a little pain or pain that's only temporary... and high level chronic pain. The class of medicines for different types of pain are very different.

If all I had to deal with were a touch of arthritis, I wouldn't even bother worrying about it. It would barely even affect my life.

But there are so many people in America and around the world that live daily with high level chronic pain caused by a variety of health issues, from injury or disease... and there are pain medications available that don't contain any acetaminophen. It's important to read labels and accompanying information, and consult with doctors to obtain the best medicines for oneself and the issues one faces.

Medicines are often like foods... there are unnecessary ingredients included.


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