Sometimes even the most common drugs turn out to be dangerous or defective.
Last July, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson,
announced plans to reduce the maximum daily dose of Tylenol and other
acetaminophen-containing products. Effective last fall, the maximum daily
dose of Extra Strength Tylenol, which contains 500 milligrams of acetaminophen
per pill, was reduced from 4,000 milligrams per day to 3,000 milligrams
per day (eight pills to six pills). Prior to that, the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) decided in January 2011 that it would reduce the
maximum amount of acetaminophen allowed in prescription painkillers from
700 milligrams per dosage unit to 325 milligrams per dosage unit.
So what prompted these changes?
Each year in the United States, acetaminophen overdoses kill approximately
200 people and send around 56,000 people to the emergency room. According
to the FDA, about 120 of those 200 deaths involve prescription medications
containing acetaminophen. Accidental overdoses often happen because people
do not realize when they are taking more than one medication with acetaminophen.
It shows up in everything from over-the-counter products like NyQuil and
Theraflu to prescription drugs like Percocet and Vicodin. The hope is
that by lowering the maximum daily dose of over-the-counter acetaminophen-containing
medications and decreasing the amount of acetaminophen allowed in prescription
painkillers, the number of accidental overdoses will be reduced.
Acetaminophen is one of the most commonly used drugs in the U.S. In 2005
alone, American consumers purchased 28 billion doses of acetaminophen-containing
medications. However, too much of this drug is potentially life threatening.
An overdose can lead to serious complications including liver failure.
According to Medline Plus, acetaminophen overdoses are one of the most
common types of poisonings worldwide.
Research in the late 1990s identifying acetaminophen as one of the leading
causes of acute liver failure garnered the FDA’s attention. Since
then, the agency has been taking steps to address the issue. In 2009,
an FDA panel voted in favor of reducing the maximum daily dose of over-the-counter
acetaminophen products, after years of educational campaigns failed to
make a significant impact on accidental overdoses.
Patients harmed by acetaminophen or any other over-the-counter or prescription
medication may be entitled to compensation from the pharmaceutical company.
And when pharmacy negligence causes a patient’s accidental overdose,
allergic reaction or other serious adverse side effect, the pharmacy and/or
the doctor who wrote the prescription may be liable.
If a defective drug or a pharmacy error has caused you or a loved one to
suffer, contact an experienced Sarasota injury attorney today. A Sarasota
injury lawyer can protect your rights and help you get the financial compensation
you need and deserve.