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This one is about: Tylenol Overdosing


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Forbes reports that Tylenol can be dangerous in big doses.

Reuters
NEW YORK (December 28, 1997 8:12 p.m. EST)

Tylenol, safe in proper doses, can be very dangerous in slightly larger doses, Forbes magazine reported in its latest issue.

The magazine said that in the eight years since a 5-year-old died of an overdose of Tylenol, there have been hundreds of fatalities and serious liver injuries attributed to acetaminophen, Tylenol's active ingredient. Johnson & Johnson, whose subsidiary McNeil Consumer Products Co. makes the pain remedy, has paid out millions of dollars in legal settlements, it said.

J&J officials could not be reached for comment on Sunday afternoon.

Forbes said its point is not that Tylenol is too dangerous to sell, but the question is simply one of disclosure. "Has J&J done all it should topublicize the hazards of Tylenol? Why not warn about possible liver failure?" the magazine said.

According to Forbes, J&J says that "organ specific" warnings would confuse people and mentioning the risk of death would promote suicides.

Forbes said J&J's estimated annual revenues of $1.3 billion from Tylenol may explain the company's reluctance to make people more aware of the drug's "dark side."

At least 100 lawsuits have been filed against J&J over acetaminophen poisonings, half in the past three years, it said. In four cases in Pennsylvania, Texas and Ohio, the company has made out-of-court settlements under agreements that require the plaintiffs to keep quiet about the terms, it added.

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Thanks for sharing this information. I read an Associated Press article with some related information. It's too long to type out here, so I'll just include some excerpts.

"Relatively small overdoses of acetaminophen -- Tylenol's active ingredient -- have been blamed for liver damage and even deaths in children in the United States."

"Sophie [14 months old] was accidentally overdosed because her parents and physician were unaware that grape-flavored infant Tylenol is 3 1/2 times stronger than children's Tylenol."

"The FDA wants manufacturers to explain correct dosages for children under 2 years old, instead of using the current language that simply directs parents to consult their doctors."

"Critics say that children and infant's Tylenol comes in kid-pleasing flavors and is marketed as a safe alternative to aspirin and other pain relievers. Consumers weren't told that giving a child as little as twice the proper dose over a period of time could destroy their livers."

"Overdoses are all too easy, they say. Children like the taste and sneak an extra swig. Or Dad doesn't know Mom just gave the baby Tylenol and administers a second dose. Parents confuse regular, extra-strength, children's and infant's formulas."

"The American Association of Poison Control Centers figures for 1996 show 31,511 children under 6 suffered inappropriate exposure to pediatric acetaminophen products. Most needed no treatment, but there were minor effects in 631 children, moderate -- meaning requiring some treatment -- in 63, and life-threatening or permanent effects in six."

"San Francisco pediatrician John Bolton has campaigned for years to change Tylenol's marketing and says the tougher labels are a step in the right direction."

"'The vast majority of people think that acetaminophen is a very innocuous chemical and don't think twice about using it four or five times a day for a very minor fever,' Bolton said."

"He fears that even with better labeling and a public service campaign, people will still fail to understand that concentrated infant-formula Tylenol is stronger than children's formula."

Parents on this list may already be aware of the greater strength of infant-formula Tylenol versus that of children's formula, but it was new to me, and in case anyone wasn't aware, I thought I'd post this. I'm certainly not claiming that using Tylenol with your child is a bad thing to do, just that we all need to be aware of the proper dosage.


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