Despite the fact that Tylenol is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States, information dating back to the 1990s indicates that Tylenol overdose is a significant cause of acute liver failure in the United States. In fact, research indicates that severe liver injury resulting in liver failure can occur as a result of a one-time accidental Tylenol overdose. Some believe that even the recommended daily dose of Tylenol is dangerous, potentially leading to liver damage in individuals who follow the medication's dosage instructions. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that even healthy adults taking the maximum daily recommended dose of Tylenol for two weeks had abnormal liver test results. Unfortunately, because many consumers are unaware of the link between Tylenol overdose and liver injury, liver damage from Tylenol overdose remains a serious public health problem. If you have suffered from the adverse effects of Tylenol overdose, contact an experienced Tylenol attorney today.
The main role the liver plays in the body's functioning is detoxification, or the removal of potentially harmful substances from the bloodstream. If ingested toxins aren't processed by the liver, they are stored in fat tissues and cell membranes to be released during exercise and stress, which can cause negative side effects like nausea and stomach pain. So, the liver acts like a filter, converting toxic chemicals into less harmful chemicals in a process that produces free radicals. If produced in excess, which is the case in Tylenol overdose, free radicals can harm the liver cells, which can lead to serious complications like liver injury or liver damage.
When Tylenol is ingested, small amounts of acetaminophen are converted to a toxic metabolite in the body, which usually isn't a problem for a healthy, functioning liver. During the detoxification process, the liver removes from the bloodstream potentially harmful byproducts of medications like Tylenol. Unfortunately, when too much Tylenol enters the bloodstream, the liver may become overwhelmed by the resulting toxins, and the toxic metabolite may bind with liver proteins to cause cellular injury. At this point, it is only a matter of time before liver damage occurs.
Once a Tylenol overdose causes liver injury, acute liver failure can take place in as little as 48 hours. This rapid progression to liver failure means that seeking medical care immediately after a Tylenol overdose is key to preventing life-threatening liver damage. Unfortunately, a Tylenol overdose is often difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms of the condition sometimes mimic those of less serious illnesses, like the flu. If Tylenol overdose treatment is delayed for even a couple of days, the liver may become damaged beyond repair, at which point a liver transplant may be required for survival. Without a transplant, victims of Tylenol liver failure may suffer from life-threatening complications like multiple organ failure, heart problems, kidney failure and swelling in the brain.
Just last year, the FDA recommended that manufacturers of acetaminophen-containing medications reduce the amount of drug in their products to 325 mg per tablet or capsule. Later that same year, Tylenol maker Johnson & Johnson reduced the daily recommended dose of Tylenol from 4,000 mg to 3,000 mg in an effort to minimize the incidence of Tylenol-related liver injury. Unfortunately, Tylenol overdose remains a major cause of acute liver failure in the United States, with up to half of acetaminophen-related cases associated with accidental overdose. If you or a loved one has suffered from liver damage caused by a Tylenol overdose, contact a Tylenol attorney for legal help. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and other damages, which you can pursue by filing a Tylenol lawsuit against drug firm Johnson & Johnson.