When looking for relief from minor aches and pains, many Americans turn to over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol, or generic acetaminophen. Unfortunately, what these Tylenol users may not know is that taking too much Tylenol can put them at risk for life-threatening side effects like liver failure, a risky move for expectant mothers in particular. Because Tylenol has been around for so long, and because it can be found in nearly every medicine cabinet in the United States, most people assume that the pain reliever comes without any serious side effects. However, recent studies have shown that even healthy adults taking Tylenol as recommended may be at risk for overdose, liver injury and liver failure requiring a transplant for survival. Furthermore, pregnant women should be aware that some common pain relievers are not ideal for relieving pregnancy-related pain, due to the risk of life-threatening side effects.
During pregnancy, the body is constantly changing, and the demands on the body that accompany pregnancy can make expectant women vulnerable to pain. Some of the more common types of pregnancy-related pain include:
When people, including pregnant women, experience discomfort that escalates into pain, many reach for the most accessible pain reliever in the medicine cabinet, which is often Tylenol or the generic form of the medication, called acetaminophen. Unfortunately, even though these drugs can be bought at the pharmacy without a prescription doesn't mean they are completely safe to use, especially for pregnant women. In fact, the FDA warns that exceeding the maximum recommended dose of acetaminophen can result in serious liver injury, and possibly even death.
Despite efforts made by the FDA to curb the risk of acetaminophen-related liver injury, the extent of liver failure cases reported in medical literature today indicates that liver injury from acetaminophen overdose remains a major public health problem. According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, even healthy adults taking maximum recommended doses of Tylenol for two weeks had abnormal liver test results. In light of the significant risk of liver damage associated with Tylenol, the FDA in January 2011 advised manufacturers of acetaminophen products to limit the maximum amount of acetaminophen in their medications to 325 mg per tablet or capsule. In an effort to minimize the risk of liver failure from Tylenol overdose, Tylenol maker Johnson & Johnson decreased the maximum daily recommended dose of Tylenol from 4,000 mg to 3,000 mg in July 2011.
According to the FDA, acetaminophen overdose accounts for 56,000 emergency room visits, 26,000 hospitalizations and nearly 500 deaths each year. If you have suffered liver injury that you believe to be associated with the pain reliever Tylenol, contact a Tylenol attorney to discuss your legal options. Pregnant women in particular could face devastating consequences associated with liver injury, especially if it progresses to life-threatening liver failure. With the help of a qualified Tylenol lawyer, victims of liver injury and liver failure can protect their legal options and pursue financial compensation for their injuries.