A popular pain reliever, Tylenol (acetaminophen) is considered a safe option for ailments like muscle aches and pains, headaches, and cold and flu symptoms. Too much of the over-the-counter drug over a short period of time, however, can cause serious side effects, including Tylenol acute liver failure, also known as ALF.
Cases of Tylenol acute liver failure have been on the rise, with one study published in Hepatology (2005) reporting that between 1998 and 2003, cases of acetaminophen liver failure rose from 28 percent to 51 percent. Those who have suffered injuries have sometimes gone on to file a Tylenol lawsuit, in an attempt to hold Johnson & Johnson (J&J) liable for failing to adequately warn of the risks.
Studies Show Risk Of Tylenol Acute Liver Failure
Scientific studies examining the prevalence of Tylenol acute liver failure cases helped to increase awareness of the issue. In 2006, for example, researchers reported that acetaminophen-related overdoses account for about 56,000 emergency room visits and 26,000 hospitalizations annually, with over 450 deaths. The poison surveillance database noted that the fatalities resulting from acetaminophen-related incidences nearly doubled between 1997 and 2001.
Consumers Doubling Up On Drugs
As more and more products became available that included acetaminophen, manufacturers failed to take into account the fact that consumers may take more than one drug—a sinus headache drug, for example, along with their regular Tylenol pain reliever. Since both potentially contain acetaminophen, individuals were unknowingly consuming dangerously high doses of the drug. A Tylenol lawyer is also likely to assert that the manufacturers should have done more to alert consumers of this potential problem than J&J and other companies did.
Changes Slow In Coming
In 2009, an FDA expert panel recommended greater regulation on acetaminophen, urging the agency to cap the maximum dose available over the counter to 650 mg, and to lower the recommended daily dose from 4,000 mg to 3,250 mg. The agency also required additional warnings about liver toxicity that year, including a warning that alerted consumers to the problem of taking combination products.
In July 2011, Tylenol manufacturer Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced that it was reducing the maximum daily dose of its Extra Strength Tylenol from 8 pills (4,000 mg) to 6 pills (3,000) mg. The change, they said, was to help reduce the risk of accidental acetaminophen overdose, which is a leading cause of Tylenol acute liver failure.
For many individuals, however, the warning is too little and comes too late.
A Tylenol Lawyer Can Help
Johnson & Johnson and other acetaminophen drug makers have made decisions to release ever-increasing dosages of the drug, often in new combination products, that have put public health at risk. At the same time, they have failed to provide adequate warnings and instructions that would alert consumers to the potential for Tylenol (acetaminophen) acute liver failure.
If you or a loved one has suffered from liver problems as a result of using Tylenol or another acetaminophen medication, a Tylenol lawsuit may help you recover damages. The attorneys at Chaffin Luhana LLP are well educated in acetaminophen-related injuries, and are ready to help you. Call today for a free and confidential case evaluation at 1-888-316-2311.