When you think of a completely safe medication, the first drug that comes to mind is probably Tylenol. Tylenol is one of the most familiar medications for Americans and is easily available over the counter in quantities as large as 500 tablets per bottle. For these reasons, many consumers believe that Tylenol is safe for adults and children to take without worrying about possible side effects. What many consumers don't know is that exceeding the maximum daily recommended dose of Tylenol can cause serious liver injury and possibly even death. What's more, studies have shown that even some consumers who take Tylenol as recommended may be at risk of potentially fatal Tylenol overdose and liver injury side effects. If you have suffered from liver damage side effects or acute liver failure, and you believe Tylenol to be the cause, contact a Tylenol attorney to explore your compensation options.
Acetaminophen is the generic name of a drug found in a number of over-the-counter medications, like Tylenol, and prescription products, like Vicodin and Percocet. Tylenol has been available in the United Since for decades and has become a trusted medication used by both adults and children across the country. In 2005 alone, consumers in the U.S. purchased more than 28 billion doses of products containing acetaminophen, of which single-ingredient, over-the-counter products like Tylenol represented eight billion doses. Tylenol is an important drug, and its effectiveness in treating fever and pain is widely known. Unfortunately, taking more than the recommended dose of Tylenol has been shown to cause liver damage, ranging from abnormalities in blood tests used to asses liver function, to acute liver failure, and even death. Even more alarming, many cases of Tylenol overdose occur when consumers unintentionally take more than the recommended dose.
While the FDA has warned that consumers who take more than the maximum daily recommended dose of Tylenol may be at risk of liver injury, studies have shown that even consumers who take Tylenol as recommended may suffer from Tylenol overdose and acute liver failure side effects. How much is a safe amount of Tylenol isn't an easy question to answer, and "safe" doses of Tylenol actually vary from consumer to consumer. The FDA has warned that acetaminophen (Tylenol) has a narrow safety margin, which means that there is little difference between the maximum daily recommended dose of the drug and a potentially harmful dose. While there is scientific agreement that taking a large amount of Tylenol over a short period of time causes liver injury, there are varying views on the specific threshold for liver toxicity to occur. In other words, some consumers may be able to take the maximum dose of Tylenol (3,000 mg or 3 grams) each day with no problems, while rare cases of acute liver failure have been linked to doses lower than 2.5 grams per day in some consumers.
Between 1998 and 2003, acetaminophen was the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States, with 48% of acetaminophen-related instances associated with accidental overdose. Unintentional Tylenol overdose leading to liver injury may be associated with a number of factors, including the use of multiple products containing acetaminophen. Acetaminophen can be found in a variety of over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, in combination products like those used to treat symptoms of the common cold, and in a number of prescription drugs in combination with narcotic pain medicines. Consumers who attempt to treat different conditions or symptoms at the same time with multiple medications containing acetaminophen may put themselves at risk of acetaminophen overdose.
Another factor in unintentional acetaminophen overdose may be associated with the fact that it can be difficult to identify acetaminophen as an ingredient in prescription products. Prescription medications that contain acetaminophen, usually with hydrocodone, codeine or oxycodone, are often labeled as containing APAP, rather than acetaminophen, on pharmacy-dispensed containers. Without clear drug labeling, consumers may not realize they are taking more than one product containing acetaminophen, thereby unknowingly putting themselves at risk of acetaminophen overdose and acute liver failure. Even children may be at risk of Tylenol overdose, as liquid products for children are available in different concentrations. Those intended for use in infants are typically more concentrated, or stronger, than those intended for use in children, to enable dosing using less liquid. If an older child is mistakenly given Tylenol meant for an infant, a potentially fatal Tylenol overdose may occur.
Even though consumers assume that Tylenol is safe because it is so easily available without a prescription, the side effects associated with Tylenol can be deadly. If you or a loved one has suffered from a Tylenol side effect like Tylenol overdose or liver injury, contact a qualified Tylenol attorney for legal help. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, current and future medical care, loss of income, and pain and suffering, which you can collect by filing a Tylenol lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. With the help of an experienced Tylenol lawyer, consumers harmed by Tylenol side effects can protect their legal rights and pursue the compensation they deserve.