Before you use acetaminophen !!


On September 19, 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) convened a special panel of medical professionals to discuss the dangers associated with the use of common over-the-counter drugs containing Acetaminophen. Examples of these drugs include Tylenol, Percocet, Darvocet, Excedrin PM, Nyquil and Thera-Flu as some of the more recognizable, widely chosen names. The panel almost unanimously, by vote of 22 to 1, urged the manufacturers to change drug labels so that the public would become better educated as to the inclusion of acetaminophen, what it is and what it does. Following are some important facts that consumers must be aware of.

No one knows exactly how acetaminophen works. One theory is that it acts on the nerve endings to suppress pain. Between 5% and 10% of any dose of acetaminophen is converted by the liver into a potentially toxic substance known as NAPQI (N.acetyl.p-benzoquinonamine ).Out of dose, even slightly, there may not be sufficient glutathione present- a necessary amino acid combination that helps cell respiration- and the toxin combines with the liver protein, causing irreversible liver damage.

Acetaminophen has the narrowest range between ingestion and toxicity. In the United Kingdom, 200 deaths and 30,000 emergency room admissions are directly attributable to acetaminophen toxicity. In the United States, Over 100 deaths and over 100,000 adverse events per year have been reported to the Food and Drug Administration.

In 1995, Dr Hyman Zimmerman amassed 161 cases of serious liver damage with acetaminophen use, and 1/2 of these involved normal doses. 1/3 involved ingesting 3 or fewer alcoholic drinks, which is half or less the amount alcohol abusers typically drink. ALL were taking the drug with therapeutic intent.


The use of this drug should be limited to :
For pain relief no more than 10 days
For fever no more than 3 days
For severe sore throat no more than 2 days


Acetaminophen Poisoning

The initial symptoms of acetaminophen poisoning are similar to those of the common flu; paleness of skin, sweating, weakness, loss of appetite and nausea. In some cases, these symptoms appear within the fIrst day and then subside, giving a false impression that the danger has passed. It may not be until 48 or more hours later that the consequences of liver failure become apparent with the onset of jaundice, confusion and even coma.

People at Risk

A portion of the population with lower capacity to produce glutathione because of biological variation.
Poor diet which is low in protein.
Dieting to lose weight.
Not eating (fasting) because of illness or pain.
Those who consume 3 or more alcoholic beverages a day, including wine, beer and mixed drinks. People who lack sufficient reading skills to understand what the drug labels are indicating.



Do not mix products containing acetaminophen

Be careful taking acetaminophen while you are not eating properly

Consult your physician if you normally consume three or more alcoholic drinks per day BEFORE taking any product containing acetaminophen

Prescriptions containing acetaminophen are labeled "APAP"