Johnson & Johnson’s recent announcement that the company plans to lower the maximum dose for Extra Strength Tylenol highlights the potential overdose dangers of over-the-counter drugs, experts say.
Tylenol’s makers will cap the product’s daily dose recommendations at 3,000 milligrams daily, or a total of six 500-milligram pills, down from the current 4,000 milligrams, or eight pills, a day, the Associated Press reports. The move is based on concerns about potential liver damage from overdoses of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol.
Experts told the AP they are also worried about potential overdoses from drugs including ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), the cold medicine, Theraflu and the antihistamine, Benadryl. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen (Aleve) and ibuprofen can cause gastrointestinal problems and kidney damage. Overdosing on Benadryl can cause sedation, which is dangerous for drivers or people who operate heavy machinery.
“It’s important for the public to realize all drugs have side effects,” Brian Strom, Director of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, told the AP. “It doesn’t matter if they’re prescription, over-the-counter, herbals or nutritional supplements. If they have active ingredients, they have side effects and can interfere with normal body functions.”
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