Does Tylenol cause liver damage or other health problems? How much Tylenol can cause an overdose? Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Tylenol, is introducing new product safety packaging to address these health concerns and curb accidental Tylenol overdoses.
The new packaging will have a cap that warns consumers about acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, and instructs them to read the label.
Let’s take a look at why Johnson and Johnson is altering their packaging and what consumers can expect.
The Dangers of Acetaminophen in Tylenol
Taken as directed, acetaminophen is a relatively harmless chemical that relieves pain for millions of people around the world. However, just like any drug, when it’s taken in excess, there are dangerous health consequences.
Acetaminophen has the potential to cause serious liver damage and is America’s leading cause of liver failure.
ABC News reports tens of thousands of people face serious health consequences every year from overdoses related to acetaminophen. From ABC News:
Overdoses from acetaminophen send 55,000 to 80,000 people in the U.S. to the emergency room each year and kill at least 500, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.
But the general public may see Tylenol as harmless, so they take more than directed and may overdose accidentally. Johnson & Johnson is aiming to warn people about the dangers of acetaminophen, Tylenol’s active ingredient, to reduce this health risk.
Johnson & Johnson React to Personal Injury Lawsuits
In response to over 85 personal injury lawsuits in federal court that blame Tylenol for liver failure and death, Johnson & Johnson is relabeling Tylenol Extra Strength products with warnings. The new warning will read: “CONTAINS ACETAMINOPHEN”, followed by “ALWAYS READ THE LABEL”.
Ideally, the move will reduce live damage and lower Tylenol-related emergency room visits. Johnson & Johnson is aiming to educate consumers about the potential dangers of acetaminophen through mere product relabeling. Will it be enough to lower Tylenol-related emergency room visits? Only time will tell.
Safe Tylenol Doses
Acetaminophen is generally safe for most Americans and the product relabeling move shouldn’t scare people into not taking Tylenol. Liver damage only occurs in a fraction of 1 percent of users.
However, it’s the extra strength variety is what experts are concerned about. From ABC News:
Safety experts are most concerned about “extra-strength” versions of Tylenol and other pain relievers with acetaminophen found in drugstores. A typical two-pill dose of Extra Strength Tylenol contains 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen, compared with 650 milligrams for regular strength. Extra Strength Tylenol is so popular that some pharmacies don’t even stock regular strength.
Acetaminophen is safe to take in doses around 4,000 milligrams a day, which is eight Extra Strength Tylenol a day.
As always, follow product labeling, use products as directed and consult your doctor before starting any new medication or medical treatment, even if it’s over-the-counter.
What Do You Think?
Do you take Tylenol Extra Strength routinely? Have you had any health issues related to taking over-the-counter medication? Do you think all medication should warn consumers about the potential dangers of taking the medication? Let us know in the comments section.