June 30th, 2009

What You Need to Know About Acetaminophen

The following post is from Dr. Ed Kuffner, Sr. Director, McNeil Consumer Healthcare

Recently, there have been reports about acetaminophen, the medicine in TYLENOL® and the potential for liver damage if the medicine is misused or taken in overdose amounts. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a public meeting yesterday and today to discuss this very issue. As the makers of Tylenol, we share the FDA’s goal of helping to ensure that over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines are used safely and properly. As a physician, I can tell you that my medical colleagues and I have been actively involved in the conversation – and are committed to finding the right solutions.

What do people need to know about acetaminophen and liver damage? Tylenol, when taken as directed, remains the safest pain reliever people can take. It’s important for people to know that it’s not the recommended dosage of acetaminophen that poses the risk. Rather, it’s when people take more than the recommended dose either intentionally, often because they think it will work better — which is not the case — or unintentionally, often because they don’t realize that several products they are taking at the same time (both prescription and OTC) each contain acetaminophen.

Importantly, you can confidently continue to take Tylenol according to the directions currently on the package and can prevent inappropriate use by:

• Reading the label before each use and always following the directions
• Never taking more than the recommended dose
• Never using two products containing acetaminophen at the same time
• Keeping medicine out of the reach of children
• Consulting a healthcare professional with questions

The safety and efficacy of acetaminophen has been established through more than 50 years of clinical use and scientific investigation and it is safe when used as directed. To learn more about the appropriate uses of Tylenol, I’d suggest you reach out to your healthcare provider, or turn to www.Tylenol.com or, if you’d like to speak to someone at McNeil directly about your questions about Tylenol, call our Consumer Call Center at 1-888-222-0082 (English and Spanish).

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