Concerns about liver injury are prompting regulators in the US to encourage lower doses of paracetamol / acetaminophen. In a statement last week, the FDA in the United States suggested that doctors stop prescribing dosages above a certain limit.
That limit is 325mg per dosage unit, meaning that in certain cases doctors could prescribe up to 650mg in two tablets or capsules.
Concerns about acetaminophen are not new. An overdose can cause liver damage that could be serious and even fatal.
Although most of the more serious dangers are minimized when following the instructions on the label, there have still been some issues:
- When a patient takes paracetamol / acetaminophen in more than one product at the same time, such as in a “pain killer” and a “cold medication”.
- When a patient takes Tylenol and alcohol at the same time.
- When patients end up taking painkillers every other day or even more.
Although the new FDA recommendations don’t solve all these problems, they do help doctors, pharmacists, and patients take a second look at exactly what they are prescribing, dispensing and taking.
Remember, read the label, talk to your doctor, and remember that taking medications (even “mild” ones) is something to take seriously.
Read the full recommendation from the FDA here: Acetaminophen Prescription Combination Drug Products with more than 325 mg: FDA Statement – Recommendation to Discontinue Prescribing and Dispensing