Tylenol and other brands of the generic acetaminophen, are one of the most popular over the counter pain relievers on the market today. Recommended by doctors and self-administered in homes all over the world for simple, effective pain relief for headaches, body aches, and a variety of other pains, Tylenol has long been considered a safer alternative to prescription and other pain relievers.
A recent study, however, has shown that acetaminophen, including Tylenol, is not as safe as was once believed. In fact, regular usage of Tylenol, even at recommended dosage levels, was shown to cause serious liver damage in nearly 40% of study participants, a number so alarming that researchers halted the study early to prevent causing further health effects to the patients being studied. The liver damage was recorded within only two weeks of taking recommended dosages of Extra Strength Tylenol.
Risk of Liver Damage Far Worse Than Thought
The study, conducted by researchers at two major US facilities, compared 145 volunteers, 106 of whom were given Extra Strength Tylenol or an opiod painkiller containing acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. The remaining participants received a placebo. All study participants were given the same diet, to control for lifestyle factors.
Of the 106 patients receiving Extra Strength Tylenol or the prescription painkiller containing acetaminophen, 41 of them, or 39%, had at least three times the maximum normal level of aminotransferase, a liver enzyme that indicates possible liver damage. Three times the maximum normal levels of aminotransferase is considered a strong indication that liver damage has already occurred.
Of the 41 patients who suffered seriously elevated levels of aminotransferase, 27 patients had five times the maximum normal levels, and eight patients had eight times the maximum normal levels.
While acetaminophen’s potential for causing liver damage has been known for some time, this study shows that the risks may be significantly greater than was originally estimated. All study participants were healthy and took only recommended dosages of acetaminophen.
Products Containing Acetaminophen
Acetaminophen is an active ingredient not only in Tylenol, but in a variety of other over the counter and prescription medications as well. As such, many consumers may be taking a higher dosage of acetaminophen than they realize.
Some popular medications containing acetaminophen include pain relievers such as Tylenol, cold medications such as NyQuil, DayQuil, TheraFlu, and menstrual relief medications such as Pamprin and Midol. It is important that consumers are fully aware of all active ingredients in the medications they’re taking, to avoid accidental overdoses.
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured
If you or someone you love has suffered temporary or permanent liver damage while taking Tylenol or other acetaminophen products within the recommended dosage, you have a legal right to be compensated for your injuries.
If you think you have a case, you owe it to yourself and to your family to consult with an experienced pharmaceutical injury attorney in your area today. He or she will review your case with you and determine how you can best go about getting the compensation you need and deserve.