The Food and Drug Administration is taking a closer look at one of the most common drugs found in over-the-counter pain relievers.
Acetaminophen has long been used in pain medications, both prescription and on the shelves.
Pharmacist Duane Porter says,"Acetaminophen has been kind of the standard for safety for years." Recent studies, though, link the ingredient to health complications. Health officials say toxic metabolites form and bond with liver protein.
"This bonding in the liver causes cellular injury at a cellular level, and that is what causes liver damage," says Brian Overbee, a Nurse Practitioner. However, when used as directed, he says people should not need to worry.
"It's important to note that taken in appropriate amounts, acetaminophen is very safe." Pharmacists agree. They say that awareness will lead to less issues and fatalities related to acetaminophen.
Porter says, "Patient education, customer education, is the key to helping with this problem." People also need to look closely at bottles and boxes, and read the fine print.
Overbee says, "Pay attention to the labels. Make sure that anything that you're putting into your body is not something that you've already taken in another form." Both Porter and Overbee do not anticipate acetaminophen being taken completely off the market, but could see the
recommended doses decreased.
Late this afternoon, the FDA voted that prescription drugs that contain acetimenophen combined with other painkilling ingredients should be pulled from the shelves.