Tylenol is a North American brand of drugs advertised for reducing pain, reducing fever, and relieving the symptoms of allergies, cold, cough, and flu. The active ingredient, acetaminophen (called paracetamol elsewhere in the world), is marketed as an analgesic and antipyretic. Like the words "acetaminophen" and "paracetamol", the brand name is derived from the chemical name for the compound, N-acetyl-para-aminophenol (APAP). The brand is owned by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
High doses of acetaminophen, has been linked to an increased risk of liver damage and liver failure. Consumers who have experienced problems from Tylenol or generic acetaminophen may be entitled to compensation as a result of the drug makers’ failure to adequately warn about the risk.
Many Tylenol liver damage lawsuits have been filed and product liability lawyers are reviewing potential Tylenol lawsuits for individuals throughout the United States who have been diagnosed with liver damage or liver failure due to side effects of acetaminophen.
Acetaminophen is also used in other combination painkillers such as Vicodin, Percocet and Tylenol with Codeine, as well as in a number of cold medications, including Alka-Seltzer and NyQuil.
In January 2011, the FDA announced new limits on the use of acetaminophen in prescription painkillers, and in July 2011, Johnson & Johnson announced it was dropping the recommended maximum daily dosage for Extra Strength Tylenol from 4,000 mg per day to 3,000 mg per day due to the risk of acetaminophen overdose.
This is a significant change for a product that for the last 30 years has marketed itself as: “the painkiller you can trust” and “the painkiller doctors prescribe most.”
TYLENOL LIVER DAMAGE: Tylenol and other acetaminophen-based drugs have been linked to an increasing number of deaths, overdoses and incidents of liver damage and liver failure, the FDA has warned. An estimated 400 people per year die and 42,000 are hospitalized from overdoses due to drugs that use acetaminophen.
Liver damage can be a serious and life-threatening condition which could lead up to liver failure and the need for a liver transplant. Signs of liver damage or liver failure from Tylenol may include:
Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
Nausea and vomiting
Confusion or disorientation
Acetaminophen is also found in many other over-the-counter medications you can buy at the drug store and in prescription drugs your doctor prescribes: Common names include Actifed, Alka-Seltzer Plus, Benadryl, Butalbital, Co-Gesic, Contac, Excedrin, Fioricet, Lortab, Midrin, Norco, Percocet, Robitussin, Sedapap, Sinutab, Sudafed, TheraFlu, Unisom With Pain, Vick's Nyquil and DayQuil, Vicodin, Wygesic, and Zydone.
The antidote to acetaminophen overdose is N-acetylcysteine (NAC). It is most effective when given within 8 hours of ingesting acetaminophen. Indeed, NAC can prevent liver failure if given early enough. For this reason, it is absolutely necessary that acetaminophen poisoning be recognized, diagnosed, and treated as early as possible.
I have been practicing medicine for the past 25 years and early on in my career, I treated many young patients with Tylenol poisoning. Back in the UK in the 1980's, Paracetamol was the suicide drug of choice, washed down with cheap beer.
Shezad Malik is an Internal Medicine and Cardiology specialist, a Texas Medical Doctor (retired) and Defective Medical Device and Dangerous Drug Attorney. Dr. Shezad Malik Law Firm has offices based in Fort Worth and Dallas and represents people who have suffered catastrophic and serious personal injuries including wrongful death, caused by the negligence or recklessness of others.