Since Tylenol (acetaminophen) is available over-the-counter and is conveniently accessible, many would think that the drug is relatively safe. Tylenol is usually available in most major drug stores, small pharmacies, grocery stores, and other locations. Several people have relied on Tylenol as their go-to pain reliever whenever they experience symptoms of a common cold, fever, headache, and menstrual pains, just to name a few medical ailments. However, as many consumers recently have discovered, Tylenol may not be as safe as one would expect, particularly for a drug that is so readily available.
Acetaminophen is the general (generic) name for Tylenol, which is a brand name. Typically, a person’s bodily chemicals will bind with the toxin in Tylenol, and this process will render that toxin harmless. However, sometimes too much of the toxin becomes present in a person’s body, such that their body cannot detoxify the full scope of the chemical.
Many times, Tylenol is overlooked as a cause of liver damage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires Tylenol, as well as other acetaminophen drugs, to carry a warning label to ensure that patients who consume three or more alcoholic drinks per day consult a physician before they begin an acetaminophen regimen. However, certain persons who are not eating normally may also be at an increased risk of liver damage even when properly following the label’s directions. Those persons who are not eating regularly and are taking Tylenol or acetaminophen may suffer liver failure in as little as four days to one week. This risk is not warned against on Tylenol’s labels.
Tylenol’s manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, has long been aware of the toxicity and dangerousness that acetaminophen can pose. However, for many years Johnson & Johnson has never publicized, through warning labels or other measures, the fact that some persons may suffer liver damage as a result of taking Tylenol. Millions of people nationwide use painkiller medications which contain acetaminophen but are unaware that this drug can cause serious side effects including liver damage, liver failure, and even death. Acetaminophen is the most commonly used painkiller in the country. Americans take over 8 billion pills (tablets or capsules) of Tylenol each year.
From 1998 to 2003, acetaminophen was the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States. Some signs of liver damage or liver failure may include: loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, jaundice and dark urine.
As a result of these serious health effects, the FDA has recommended that the amount of acetaminophen in any medication be reduced. In January 2011, the FDA took the additional step of mandating a “black box warning” for the label of certain prescription medications. This warning will highlight the potential for severe liver injury on all prescription drug products containing acetaminophen.
If you have suffered liver injury as a result of using Tylenol, you may be entitled to compensation. You should not have to suffer through your injuries alone. A personal injury attorney can be by your side to assert your rights and make large drug manufacturers aware that they cannot get away with hiding the severe risks that their products pose. If you need further information on Tylenol or would like an attorney to review your case call 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form for a free legal consultation.