At the Neck Pain Support Blog many of our readers are dealing with some kind of pain everyday. Acute pain can lead to chronic pain overtime. One treatment prescribed by Doctors for this pain is often medications- more specifically pain killers like Tylenol, Vicodin and Percocet. This month the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to patients about these drugs potentially causing liver damage.
Drugs like Tylenol, Vicodin, Percocet and other over the counter pain medications have an ingredient called Acetaminophen (the generic name). Acetaminophen is prescribed frequently by Doctors for relieving pain and fever. This drug is generally considered safe when used according to the directions on its labeling. But taking more than the recommended amount can cause liver damage, ranging from abnormalities in liver function blood tests, to acute liver failure, and even death. Early signs of liver damage include: loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Liver damage can develop into liver failure or death over several days.
According to Dr. Michael Fallon, director of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston “The problem with Vicodin and Percocet is that consumers aren't aware how much acetaminophen they are ingesting when they take the painkillers”.
Patients often consume higher dosages as time goes on because they may not be getting relief. This increased ingestion of acetaminophen can be addicting. Acetaminophen is an effective pain reliever, but its dosage should be limited, Fallon said. He recommends that his patients take acetaminophen in doses of only about 2 grams a day.
“If they do that, they would be below what's been reported in any situation to cause liver injury. It's a reasonable safety limit,” he said
The FDA's experts voted Tuesday June 30th to lower the current maximum daily dose of non-prescription acetaminophen, which is four grams, or eight pills of a medication like Extra Strength Tylenol.
At theNeck Pain Support Blog, our goal is to seek natural alternative treatments for pain relief. Taking over the counter medications such as Tylenol are an easy way to treat acute pain. If you take the prescribed amount of medication, most likely your body and liver will handle it. Most people are only at risk for liver toxicity if they take more than the normal recommended amount of acetaminophen. When pain relief does not come, it is easy to increase your dose- turning an acute situation into a chronic one. Take steps to find a solution for pain relief without hurting your body. When you are prescribed a medication by your Doctor learn what the side effects are and how long you will need to take these drugs.
Fact: Acetaminophen also can appear as “APAP” on your medication bottle
Fact: For my United Kingdom readers, Acetaminophen is also known as “paracetamol”