Acetaminophen side effects that cause liver injuries is estimated by a 2017 study to account for 100,000 calls to U.S. Poison Control Centers annually. As many as 50,000 yearly ER visits, 10,000 hospitalizations and nearly 500 deaths are
directly traced to liver poisoning from acetaminophen overdose.
These facts were reported in research titled "Acetaminophen (APAP) hepatotoxicity—Isn’t it time for APAP to go away?" published July, 2017 in the journal Hepatology.
Acetaminophen (APAP), including the brand name Tylenol®, is the most commonly used drug for the treatment of mild to moderate pain and fever. It is often the initial treatment for a host of pain-causing ailments, including arthritis.
The study cautioned APAP as Tylenol® is also a dose-related toxin that:
The study author, William M. Lee, M.D., Digestive and Liver Diseases Division, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX wrote: "As an over-the-counter and prescription product (with opioids), APAP toxicity dwarfs all other prescription drugs as a cause of acute liver failure in the US and Europe, but it is not regulated in any significant way."
Acetaminophen is one of the most widely used drugs in the world with well-characterized safety profiles and tens of millions of consumers. Yet, improperly dosed, it has a narrow margin for error. Acetaminophen overdose can result in irreparable damage that can require liver transplant or cause death
Over-the-counter (OTC) acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol), has been used to treat mild to moderate pain and fever for more than 60 years. Prescription acetaminophen-hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin and generic preparations) is a narcotic combination drug prescribed for moderate to severe pain. When taken as directed, both types of acetaminophen drugs are safe and usually have no side effects.
However, acetaminophen side effects can result in severe or fatal liver damage with even a modest overdose.
Some rare side effects that might indicate an allergic reaction to the drug include:
Some of the more severe acetaminophen side effects includes:
With current treatment, more than 90% of patients with acetaminophen effects of toxicity recover completely. Of those who develop acute liver failure, 70% survive and recover fully with supportive care within about 3 months. Acetaminophen poisoning is treated with the drug N-acetylcysteine (NAC), however, early treatment is important to full recovery. NAC does not reverse liver cell damage that has already occurred.
Many cases of acetaminophen side effects or overdose are caused by patients inadvertently taking more than the recommended dose, which since 2012 has been reduced by McNeil Laboratories, the maker of Tylenol, from 4000 mg (4 grams, 8 pills) a day to 3000 mg (3 grams, 6 pills) a day.
Safety warnings sat you should not take this much for more
than 10 days unless under direct medical supervision.
Most practitioners still consider 4 grams daily as safe, but only when considering all possible APAP sources, if the patient is taking more than one product containing acetaminophen daily.
However, consumers are cautioned that the word acetaminophen may not be found on some product's ingredient labels. It is frequently described as APAP from its pharmaceutical name acetyl-para-aminophenol, is unrecognizable as acetaminophen to the average consumer.
If you’re a woman, research has shown that continual routine use of as little as 500 mg of this pain reliever daily may elevate the risk of developing high blood pressure for some women.
Acetaminophen side effects are also frequently identified as a suspect drug in intentional fatal overdoses.
The acetaminophen-hydrocodone narcotic combination has special hazards if patients develop a tolerance to the narcotic and increase their daily intake, leading to a potentially fatal acetaminophen overdose.
Hydrocodone is in a group of drugs called narcotic pain-relievers, and is a cough suppressant, similar to codeine. Hydrocodone blocks the receptors on nerve cells in the brain that give rise to the sensation of pain.
Acetaminophen is a non-narcotic pain reliever and fever reducer. It works by elevating the threshold to pain, that is, in order for pain to be felt, greater stimulation of the nerves responsible for the sensation of pain is necessary. It reduces fever through its action on the temperature-regulating center of the brain.
Frequently, hydrocodone and acetaminophen are combined in a single prescription (never as a non-prescription) drug to achieve moderate to severe pain relief for arthritis and other conditions.
As a narcotic, hydrocodone relieves pain by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. Acetaminophen is a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of hydrocodone.
While this combination drug is often prescribed as a generic, it is also recognized by brand names Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab, Maxidone, Norco, Stagesic, Xodol, Zydone and others.
Hydrocodone may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for.
Less serious acetaminophen side effects and hydrocodone issues when combined in a drug include:
Serious side effects (call your doctor at once) include:
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect or allergic reaction.
Note: Hydrocodone is an opioid, the use of which has doubled over the past 20 years. Best known for treating chronic pain from cancer, opioids have become common therapy to treat chronically severe osteoarthritis pain and to control pain of periodic flares of autoimmune diseases (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis). Despite its benefits, there are no randomized, controlled studies looking at the benefit/risk of long-term use of opioids in patients with chronic non-cancer conditions. As a result the risk of addiction or tolerance to these medications in these patients is not known.
Men who take acetaminophen, aspirin or other types of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAIDs, six to seven days a week have an increased risk of developing hypertension, according to a four-year study in the Feb. 26, 2007 Archives of Internal Medicine. The study was conducted by a group led by John Forman, MD, of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
The study determined the high risk percent of developing high blood pressure than nonusers as follows:
Similar results were observed when the number of pills taken per week was analyzed rather than frequency of use in days per week.
"Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin are the three most frequently used drugs in the United States," say the authors in the report. "Given their common consumption and the high prevalence of hypertension (in the United States), our results may have substantial public health implications, and suggest that these agents be used with greater caution."
The 16,031 men in the study had an average age of 64.7 years and did not have a history of high blood pressure at baseline. The results were, for the most part, consistent with the results of 2 previous large cohort studies, the Nurses' Health Study and the Physicians' Health Study, both of which demonstrated an increased risk of hypertension with these analgesic drug classes.
As you can see in this report, acetaminophen side effects from overuse are potentially deadly serious.
If your answer is yes to any of the following questions, you may be a candidate to choose natural supplements instead:
It’s possible to free yourself completely (or cut back substantially) from pain relief drugs by switching to the best safe alternatives. Do you fear acetaminophen side effects, or NSAID stomach issues?
The natural arthritis relief products featured on this site are based on science--concrete scientific evidence accumulated from hundreds of clinical studies--and not merely personal opinion.
Arthritis-Relief-Naturally explores clinically-proven, natural alternatives for pain relief of arthritis that safely reduce harmful side effects of drugs.
As an example, one featured natural pain relief complex is a proven, excellent substitute and escape from acetaminophen side effects, or NSAID side effects. This natural pain product that features nature's anti-inflammatory, boswellia, combined with the ancient herb,.safflower, is effective against the 5 Lox and Cox 2 pain pathways--both of the major pathways—and is the only natural supplement of its kind on the market.
Its formulation and synergy is so unique that there's a patent pending on it. It’s manufactured by the number one natural nutrition company in the U.S.
It’s one of three arthritis products featured at the conclusion of this report.
From other pages on this website, you may be aware that my husband and I both have osteoarthritis for many years.
We have both taken non-prescription acetaminophen and different NSAIDs, with disappointing results in reducing pain and relieving symptoms of joint swelling and stiffness. I am chemically sensitive, so I experienced acetaminophen side effects of nausea and stomach upset, and cannot tolerate the more pronounced gastrointestinal side effects of NSAIDs at all!
In 2003 the 'beyond organic' natural products company we were using for nutritional dietary supplements introduced a pain relief program, consisting of three complementary natural products containing no artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, aspirin or preservatives.
My husband had knee osteoarthritis, forestalled knee replacement surgeries for 16 years after recommendation, and I have neck arthritis. We have had excellent results with pain relief, increased range of motion and elimination of swelling/stiffness from the three natural pain products.
We no longer use pain relief drugs of any kind, our arthritis symptoms are completely under control, and my husband plays tennis as many as four times a week.
If you are considering the use of natural products because of acetaminophen side effects or reactions to other drugs, we strongly recommend three supplements based on our personal use.
They are safe. They work. We continue to use them daily. If we don’t, our arthritis symptoms return full force. There’s no cure for arthritis.
For a fuller overview of the supplements and the herbal ingredients used in each, click on three natural pain products.
Each arthritis product has a specific purpose:
The goal of these unique arthritis products, when taken together, is to provide rapid pain relief, support sustained relief and promote joint renewal. However, each product can be ordered and effectively taken separately and you won’t have to worry about acetaminophen side effects.
You can find The Pain Trio on this link.
The manufacturer pledges "We are committed to continually assessing ways to provide innovative and scientifically-validated products that support healthy aging and help improve quality of life, while also providing consumers with a wide selection of healthy foods and dietary supplements that can be customized to individuals’ needs."
Here’s another link to the company's public Health Resource science page, including their Clinical Research Archive of 136 published studies on their own products.
Acetaminophen Side Effects Disclaimer: Health statements on this acetaminophen side effects page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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