Acetaminophen is used in pain-relieving as an analgesic or fever alleviation as an antipyretic drug. The drug is available on its own as over the counter (OTC) drug, or as a combination with other OTC or prescription drugs. According to the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), the intake of a large amount of acetaminophen causes liver damage (Yan par. 4). The authority also reports of rare but severe cases in which the drug has caused damages on the skin. Consequently, FDA ordered pharmaceutical firms to limit the amount of acetaminophen to levels below 325 mg in the formulation of combined drugs. This order is effective from January 2014 (Yan par. 7).
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Yan writes the article on 16th of January 2014, two days after the FDA press release, to remind the American population that the 2011 FDA order to drug manufacturing companies has come to effect (FDA par. 1). This article reminds the consumers and medical practitioners of the existence of products containing acetaminophen above the regulated limits. These may be drugs manufactured before January 2014, or may be drugs formulated by pharmaceutical firms, which have not yet observed the 2011 FDA order. The writer of the article as well informs the consumers of the fatal liver damage caused by acetaminophen overdose. He informs the consumers to be vigilant with doctors’ prescriptions. According to Yan, consumers need to look for the word “acetaminophen” or “APAP” in the prescription leaflets (Yan par. 13).
According to this article, most of the patients are ignorant on the content of acetaminophen contained in the drug product they take. Therefore, a large number of these consumers unknowingly take more than the required amount of acetaminophen. For this reason, the Food and Drugs Authority on 14th of January 2014 ordered all health stakeholders to ensure that products containing more than 325 mg of acetaminophen are never prescribed (Yan par. 8). Consumers are unaware that many drug products contain acetaminophen, hence consume at the same time a variety of these drugs, which consequently risk their lives. Acetaminophen is often formulated as combination drugs with pain medications like hydrocodone (as in Vicodon), codeine (as in Extra Strength Tylenol) and oxycodone (as in Percocet). Some of these drugs still contain content of acetaminophen above the regulated amount (Yan par. 3).
The objective of the Food and Drugs Authority regulation on products containing acetaminophen is to reduce the number of liver poisoning or deaths caused by acetaminophen overdoses. The required dose of acetaminophen per day is 4 grams, a quantity that can be reached by taking 8 tablets of “Extra Strength Tylenol.” The Authority also advises consumers not to take at the same time different products containing acetaminophen. This requirement will limit the unintended overdose (Yan par. 10).
This is an interesting article in the fight of drug overdose. The writer of the article, Mr. Holly Yan, is a CNN journalist who has taken the role of informing the public on the dangers of overdosing acetaminophen. It is worrying that FDA does not ensure that its regulation is implemented as required. The Authority could have made a thorough campaign against using drugs with acetaminophen above the specification before the effective date of the regulation (FDA par. 3). Holly Yan realizes that the new FDA press release may have not reached a significant number of the audience thus; he informs the audience who did not have this information.
This summary appreciates the extraordinary work made by journalist like Yan who impart the public with healthcare information. The objective of this choice is to enlist private citizens who ensure that drug consumers are well informed.
FDA. Acetaminophen Prescription Combination Drug Products with more than 325 mg: FDA Statement – Recommendation to Discontinue Prescribing and Dispensing. 2014. Web.
Yan, Holly. FDA: Acetaminophen doses over 325 mg might lead to liver damage. 2014. Web.