The manufacturer of Tylenol has announced that it is recommending a lower dosage amount on its products, lowering it from 4000 milligrams, or 8 pills, per day to 3000 milligrams, or 6 pills.

The change will affect extra strength Tylenol products in the fall and other Tylenol products containing acetaminophen in 2012.  It comes about in light of recent reports that show many acetaminophen users often exceed the recommended dosage, which can cause liver damage.  Acetaminophen is one of the most popular over the counter painkillers in the country, with more than 50 million Americans using it on at least a weekly basis.  Tylenol is lowering their optimal dosage after a recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration, which also advised that prescription medications containing acetaminophen limit the amount of the drug to 325 milligrams per pill.

In addition to liver damage, excessive acetaminophen use can cause rebound headaches.  This usually occurs when a person takes painkilling medication to treat a headache, then takes more when they believe the first dose isn’t working.  While the headache eventually goes away, it may “rebound,” or return shortly afterward, often more painful than before.  Unfortunately, the most effective way to treat a rebound headache is to simply ride it out until it goes away, while avoiding taking more medication.

If you’re dealing with chronic pain that is only relieved through excessive amounts of acetaminophen, ibuprofen or any other over the counter medication, it’s important to see your doctor.  Whether the pain is due to a temporary or long-term medical issue, a doctor should be able to offer other solutions to pain management, whether it’s prescription medication or alternative treatments such as acupuncture or yoga.  Acetaminophen is meant to be used only in small amounts, and should be treated as such, as taking too much does far more harm than good.

Gena Radcliffe
Medex Supply Blogger

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