The dangers of Tylenol


#1

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#2

I understand that you can't give ibuprofen or aspirin to children under a certain age, and perhaps there are risks associated with those drugs for other types of adult patients, but for the life of me, I can't understand how a reasonably healthy person would ever take Tylenol for pain. I tried it once and it did absolutely nothing for me. It was just highly ineffective against pain.

Editing to add: I suppose it is ineffective for those who went beyond the recommended dosing as well.


#3

So a 25% overdose maintained over a long period of time is dangerous? Say it ain't so!

If people ate 25% more than the recommended amount of lard every day for a long period of time, that'd be dangerous too.

Dosages do matter, people. The right amount is medicine. The wrong amount is poison. Always keep that in mind, don't take a higher dose unless you know what you're doing. And certainly don't stay on that higher dose for any significant amount of time unless you really know what you're doing. That goes for drugs, food, exercise, whatever.

But at the same time, it should be pretty obvious when you're doing it wrong. If you have chronic headaches and are taking ibuprofin or acetaminophen five times a day, every single day, that's not a good sign. That's a "you-need-to-see-a-doctor" sign.


#4

The risk is considerable, relatively speaking. 150 deaths per year is a high fatality rate for an over-the-counter medication.


#5

It's been known for years that paracetemol is really bad for your liver, hasn't it? Is this news?

People seem to love taking pills. I stay the hell away from all drugs unless I really, really have to. I don't even like taking an aspirin. I grew up with a healthy mistrust of all of them, probably because my dad worked in the safety side of the pharmaceutical industry.


#6

I remember when I lived in England about a decade ago. Of course my 1-year-old daughter was sick with a fever within a few days of moving there, and going to the drug store was truly strange. The only pain/fever medicine rated for 1-year-olds was Paracetamol suspension, with dire warnings about respiratory failure. Turns out that Paracetamol is just the British term for acetaminophen/Tylenol, and those dire warnings are there in the US packaging too.

But since I'd grown up with Tylenol, considered it safe, etc., I'd never really read all the warning labels, and never knew about how dangerous it really is.


#7

It has been known, but on the other hand, the marketing side stresses safety and efficacy. People hear the marketing much more frequently than they do warnings.


#8

Depends on the type of pain. Ibuprofen is an NSAID, and generally won't work for any pain that isn't related to inflammation. That said, it's quite effective when used for what it was developed for. While continued/over use will cause issues, they are on the milder side of over-the-counter drug side-effects. (not that is any great relief as most drug side effects can be quite alarming)

Tylenol, aka Acetaminophen, is a completely different drug, and a much more dangerous risk for permanent health problems related to mis/overuse.


#9

I edited my original post because it wasn't clear. When I said "it", I meant Tylenol. Ibuprofen has been remarkable in reducing or eliminating pain. Apologies for any confusion I've caused.


#10

Is this where I should encourage everyone to read Bad Pharma if they haven't done so already?


#11

I also limit what pills I swallow. Sometimes, like after oral surgery or something like that, you can't go without something to ease pain.


#12

I've had root canal and wisdom tooth extractions done fairly recently and they dished out vicodin prescriptions like candy. Never filled them. No thank-you.


#13

I took Ibuprofen. It didn't eliminate pain, but it took the insane edge off of it. No one offered vicodin and no one asked for it, in my case.


#14

The prohibition on aspirin for children comes from studies in the 70's linking aspirin consumption with Reye's Syndrome in children.

Now the only people taking orange flavored low dose (baby) aspirin, are old people with hearth conditions.


#15

I love vicodin. Mind you, I know to steer clear of opiates these days, be it brown No.2 heroin, or little blue pills...


#16

It does nothing to stop pain, but even one pill can inflict one hell of a lot of digestive pain.


#17

Hey! I resemble that remark. Actually, it's to avoid a heart condition. And I'll wager that I'm younger than the BB staff, so there.


#18

Yea, I've been taking baby aspirin for years. The paper I read didn't mention the age of the test subjects; I assumed it was helpful at any age.


#19

The problem is that with acetaminophen it isn't a long period of time or a particularly large quantity. You can take a few extra pills over the limit for less than a week and do serious liver damage. That's maybe 2-4x the recommended dosage, whereas to do serious damage with Aspirin you may need to take as much as 10x more the recommended amount.

It's also an issue with knowing what's in each drug you're taking, and how often you take it. People often fall into the "Well, this Vicodin isn't doing the trick so I'll take some Tylenol and then later some NyQuil to help me sleep" — you're taking less than the recommended dosage of all 3, but you're taking in way too much acetaminophen.

The ingredients and information pertaining to how much of each ingredient you can consume in a day isn't anywhere near prominent enough.

They really need to dumb down the system so it's "Well, Vicodin is a 60% and Extra Strength Tylenol is a 30% so I better not take that NyQuil today because it's a 20% and it'll put me over 100%, which is dangerous."


#20

It's baby aspirin 'cause it's tiny, lol, not for babies.