FDA Asks Doctors To Limit Acetaminophen In Combination Drugs

combination drug Patients can inadvertently overdose on the drug. Excessive acetaminophen can result in liver failure and the need for a liver transplant. In some cases, patients can even die from liver problems.

The FDA said there is no data showing the taking extra acetaminophen has any reasonable benefits versus the risks. Nearly half of acetaminophen-related liver failure in the US are caused by unintentional overdose from combination drugs. These drugs are often prescribed to patients who have acute injury pain, pain after an operation, or pain after dental work.

The recommendation was issued in 2011, and set to take full effect in three years. However, combination drugs containing more than 325 milligrams of acetaminophen per tablet or capsule are still available as of January 14, 2014. Pharmacists who are given prescriptions for combo drugs that exceed the recommended dosage are asked to discuss using a lower dose with the health care provider.

Combination drugs that contain excessive acetaminophen (paracetamol) will be removed from the market if the FDA withdraws their approval.

Tylenol is a common drug in the US, available by both prescription and OTC (over-the-counter). It is a mild analgesic and fever reducer.

Editor’s Note: Discuss all medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medicines, with your doctor. Individuals who take a large number of medications can inadvertently take too much. While acetaminophen is not an NSAID, it may be harmful to vision.

Acetaminophens & Vision

The family acetaminophens (ie, aspirin, ibuprofin, advil, meclofen) increase the vulnerability of the eyes to the damaging light of the sun; they are photosensitizing.  Damaging UV radiation and blue light are harmful to the retina of the eye and contribute to a number of retinal and macular conditions.

Next: How to protect your vision from damage from the sun.