According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, is the number one cause of acute liver failure in the U.S. Accidental overdoses of Tylenol and Acetaminophen lead to thousands of emergency room visits and hospitalizations each year. Moreover, it has been reported that 450 deaths per year are directly related to Acetaminophen. Each time an individual takes Tylenol, or another drug containing Acetaminophen, a small portion of the drug becomes a toxin. Under normal circumstances, that toxin is harmless. In some cases, however, too much of the toxin is produced and the body cannot get rid of it, which can cause severe liver damage.
It has been known since the mid-1970s that Acetaminophen, when combined with regular alcohol consumption, is capable of causing liver damage. However, it took almost 30 years for the manufacturers of Tylenol and generic brands containing Acetaminophen to change the medication warning labels to include a warning against combining Acetaminophen and alcohol. It has been known since the mid-1990s that Acetaminophen, when combined with fasting or not eating properly, can also cause liver damage. These injuries often occur in people who are suffering from the flu or flu-like symptoms and don't feel like eating. Because of their flu-like symptoms, they are taking Acetaminophen within recommended dose amounts. However, because they have not been eating regularly, the toxic effects of Acetaminophen are magnified. Recently, the FDA Advisory Panel recommended new guidelines, reducing the maximum single dose from 500 milligrams (so-called "extra strength Tylenol") to 325 milligrams in an effort to reduce the serious and sometimes fatal injuries caused by Acetaminophen.
Acute liver failure can result in a lengthy hospitalization, the need for a liver transplant, and death. Many cases of liver damage caused by Tylenol and Acetaminophen are misdiagnosed or unrecognized.
If you or a loved one has suffered liver damage that you believe was caused by Tylenol or Acetaminophen, contact an experienced defective product attorney at Suthers Law Firm on our toll free number, 1-800-320-2384, for a free consultation.