What do you take when you are in pain? I took over-the-counter acetaminophen and the more I took - the sicker I got. I had several new health problems e.g., nausea, difficulty in breathing and an overall feeling of dying.
Acetaminophen poisoning can cause gastroenteritis within hours and hepatotoxicity 1 to 3 days after ingestion. Severity of hepatotoxicity after a single acute overdose is predicted by serum acetaminophen levels. Treatment is with N-acetylcysteine to prevent or minimize hepatotoxicity.
Acetaminophen is contained in over 100 products sold OTC. Products include many children's preparations in liquid, tablet, and capsule form and many cough and cold preparations. Many prescription drugs also contain acetaminophen. Consequently, acetaminophen overdose is common.
The principal toxic metabolite of acetaminophen, N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI), is produced by the hepatic cytochrome P-450 enzyme system; glutathione stores in the liver detoxify this metabolite. An acute overdose depletes glutathione stores in the liver. As a result, NAPQI accumulates, causing hepatocellular necrosis and possibly damage to other organs (eg, kidneys, pancreas). Theoretically, alcoholic liver disease or undernutrition could increase risk of toxicity because hepatic enzyme preconditioning may increase formation of NAPQI and because undernutrition (also common among alcoholics) reduces hepatic glutathione stores. However, whether the risk is actually increased is unclear. Acute alcohol ingestion may be protective because hepatic P-450 enzymes preferentially metabolize ethanol and thus cannot produce toxic NAPQI.
Acute Acetaminophen Poisoning
To cause toxicity, an acute overdose must total ≥ 150 mg/kg (about 7.5 g in adults) within 24 hours.
Symptoms and Signs
Mild poisoning may not cause symptoms, and when present, symptoms are usually minor until ≥ 48 h after ingestion. Symptoms, which occur in 4 stages (see Table 5: Poisoning: Stages of Acute Acetaminophen Poisoning), include anorexia, nausea, vomiting, and right upper quadrant abdominal pain. Renal failure and pancreatitis may occur, occasionally without liver failure. After > 5 days, hepatotoxicity resolves or progresses to multiple organ failure, which can be fatal.
Note: Acetaminophen overdose is one the most common causes of OTC drug poisoning in the United States and Britain. More than 30,000 cases per year of acetaminophen overdose are reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (Bartlett D 2004). It is a leading cause of liver failure in the Western world and the leading cause of drug-induced liver failure in the United States (Bartlett D 2004).
People who have liver disorders or who consume large amounts of alcohol are advised to avoid acetaminophen, which can damage both the kidneys and the liver, even at therapeutic doses (Bromer MQ et al 2003). People who use acetaminophen on a regular basis double their risk of kidney cancer (Kaye JA et al 2001; Gago-Dominguez M et al 1999; Derby LE et al 1996).
Why is acetaminophen added to narcotic prescriptions?
Many Doctors think acetaminophen was intentionally added to prescription drugs in an attempt to detour abuse. Sorta like spraying poison on morning glory seeds and/or marajuana.
In June, 2009 Government experts said prescription drugs like Vicodin and Percocet that combine acetaminophen, a popular painkiller with stronger narcotics should be eliminated because of their role in deadly overdoses. A Food and Drug Administration panel voted 20-17 that prescription drugs that combine acetaminophen with other painkilling ingredients should be pulled off the market. http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-06-30-tylenol-acetaminophen_N.htm
How can you repair the damage(s) caused by acetaminophen?
First of all stop taking this "medication". When I started feeling sick - I stopped taking any more therapeutic doses of acetaminophen and started taking glutathione supplements.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione (L-gammaglutamyl-L-cysteinylglycine) is a tri-peptide of the amino acids cysteine, glycine, and glutamic acid. Glutathione is an antioxidant compound found in living animal and plant tissue. It takes up and gives off hydrogen and is important in cellular respiration. A deficiency of glutathione can cause hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells, leading to anemia) and oxidative stress. Glutathione is essential in intermediary metabolism as a donor of sulfhydryl groups which are essential for the detoxification of acetaminophen. [PDR Medical Dictionary. Spraycar. 1999] Selenium is a structural component of, and a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase. No other antioxidant is as important to overall health as glutathione. It is the regulator and regenerator of immune cells and the most valuable detoxifying agent in the human body. Low levels are associated with hepatic dysfunction, immune dysfunction, cardiac disease, premature aging, and death." The Immune System Cure, Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe & Patrick J.D. Bouic, Ph.D. Glutathione is the major endogenous antioxidant produced by the cell. Glutathione participates directly in the neutralization of free radicals, reactive oxygen compounds, and maintains exogenous antioxidants such as vitamins C and E in their reduced (active) forms. In addition, through direct conjugation, glutathione plays a role in the detoxification of many xenobiotics (foreign compounds) both organic and inorganic. Glutathione is an essential component of the human immune response. Proposed mechanisms of immune enhancement include: 1. optimizing macrophage functions, 2. offsetting oxidative damage associated with lymphocyte monoclonal expansion, and 3. stabilizing the mitochondrial membrane thereby, reducing apoptosis in lymphocytes.