Maximum dose of Tylenol reduced to help prevent overdoses

Consumer Reports News: July 28, 2011 05:43 PM

The maximum daily dose for Tylenol will be lowered on all acetaminophen-containing adult products from 4,000 mg (8 Extra Strength Tylenol pills) to 3,000 mg (6 pills), the manufacturer said today. The move is intended to reduce the risk of accidental acetaminophen overdoses that can lead to liver failure and death.

People can unknowingly take too much acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, because it's included in more than 600 hundred over-the-counter medications that are intended to treat back pain, cold and flu symptoms, headaches, and other conditions. Acetaminophen is also found in certain prescription painkillers, such as Percocet and Vicodin.

The reduction in the maximum daily dose will appear on bottle labels in the fall for Extra Strength Tylenol. Regular strength Tylenol and other products that contain acetaminophen will get reduced maximum dose instructions starting in 2012.

Bottom line: Check the ingredients of all medications you take to see if they contain acetaminophen and make sure you are not taking more than the maximum daily dose. If you take 4,000 mg (8 Tylenol extra strength pills) for chronic pain relief, talk to your doctor about other pain relief strategies.

If you have liver disease or drink alcohol heavily, you should avoid acetaminophen. If you regularly take the drug, watch for signs of liver damage, which includes dark urine, pale stools, right-upper abdominal pain, and a yellowish tinge in the whites of eyes.

Read more about how to avoid accidental overdoses of acetaminophen.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare Announces Plans for New Dosing Instructions for TYLENOL Products

Steve Mitchell

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