An emerging body of research has indicated that taking more than the daily recommended dose of Tylenol can lead to Tylenol overdose and severe liver injury possibly resulting in acute liver failure. In some instances, however, even consumers who take Tylenol as recommended and those who take less than the daily recommended dose of the over-the-counter medication may be at risk for Tylenol overdose side effects, depending on a number of common risk factors. If consumers are unaware of these Tylenol overdose risk factors, they may unknowingly expose themselves to potentially-fatal overdose and liver injury complications. If you have suffered from the side effects of Tylenol overdose, contact an experienced Tylenol attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse.
Unfortunately, there is limited information available about consumer behavior with acetaminophen products or consumer understanding about Tylenol toxicity. There are, however, a number of factors that may contribute to this public health problem. For one, even individuals who take just a small amount more than the maximum daily recommended dose of Tylenol may suffer from liver injury. Because Tylenol and acetaminophen have a narrow safety margin, there is little difference between the recommended daily dose and a potentially harmful dose. Experts have agreed that taking a large amount of Tylenol over a short period of time causes liver injury, but there are varying views on the specific threshold dose for toxicity.
Some individuals are especially prone to liver injury caused by Tylenol overdose, including those who use alcohol or have liver disease. These individuals may have a greater susceptibility to the effects of the toxic metabolite that is produced when acetaminophen is ingested by the body, because they produce more of the metabolite or because they are unable to clear it from the body as easily. Individuals with these risk factors may experience toxic effects at lower Tylenol doses than others; rare cases of acute liver failure have even been linked to amounts lower than 2.5 grams per day, even though the maximum daily recommended dose of Tylenol is 3 grams. Some believe that ethnicity, nutrition, genetics or other factors may also play a role in making some individuals more prone to liver injury, but additional research is needed to understand these potential risk factors.
From 1998 to 2003, acetaminophen was the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S., with up to half of acetaminophen-related cases associated with unintentional overdose. Acetaminophen can be found in many commonly used over-the-counter, single-ingredient products, like Tylenol, and in multiple-ingredient combination products, like those used to treat symptoms of the common cold. Acetaminophen is also a component in a number of prescription drugs in combination with narcotic pain medicines. If consumers are unaware that acetaminophen is contained in all these products, they may attempt to treat different conditions or symptoms at the same time with more than one acetaminophen-containing products. This puts them at an increased risk of an acetaminophen overdose.
In some cases, it may be difficult for consumers to identify acetaminophen as an ingredient in certain prescription medications. Prescription drugs that contain acetaminophen, usually with oxycodone, codeine, or hydrocodone, are often labeled as containing "APAP," rather than acetaminophen, on pharmacy-dispensed containers. Without clear drug warning labels, consumers may take more than one product containing acetaminophen without realizing they are putting themselves at risk of acetaminophen overdose and possibly liver injury. In addition, some consumers don't know that Tylenol overdose can lead to acute liver failure, possibly due to the fact that many consider Tylenol a safe and familiar product that has been marketed for decades. The fact that Tylenol is available over the counter in very large quantities may reinforce this dangerous misconception.
The FDA has warned consumers that taking more than the recommended dose of Tylenol may lead to Tylenol overdose and liver injury. Unfortunately, research has shown that even consumers taking the daily recommended dose of Tylenol for a period of time may suffer from Tylenol overdose and acute liver failure side effects. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, even healthy adults taking the maximum daily recommended dose of Tylenol for two weeks had abnormal liver test results. If you or a loved one has experienced the liver injury side effects of Tylenol overdose, contact a Tylenol attorney for legal help. You may have grounds to file a Tylenol lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, in order to pursue financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, future medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.