I’m willing to bet you have a bottle of it somewhere in your house right now. After all it’s estimated that 70 percent of homes do.
And if there isn’t one in your own medicine cabinet, I can practically guarantee that there’s a bottle of this common painkiller in the home of a loved one.
And that’s frightening, because acetaminophen side effects can be deadly.
Acetaminophen side effects cause over 55,000 emergency room visits yearly and over 25,000 folks are admitted to the hospital as a direct result of overdosing on drugs containing the painkiller.
But most shocking of all is that data from the FDA has linked up to 458 deaths a year to drugs containing acetaminophen.
Acetaminophen can lead to deadly liver damage
Because despite its reputation for being a safe, gentle painkiller, acetaminophen can lead to major, life-threatening—and even deadly—liver damage.
The problem is acetaminophen gets dumped into so many different products it’s easy to lose track of. That means it can lead to an accidental overdose.
You can find it in dozens of over-the-counter brands you may never even think to look for it in, including…
- Sudafed PE
- and more.
In fact, you’ll find it “hidden” in over 600 over-the-counter and prescription drugs, according to knowyourdose.org.
And with a reach like that is it really any wonder so many folks who start off trying to fight a backache… or the aches and pains of the flu… suddenly find themselves fighting off an overdose instead?
What’s maddening about this issue is that it isn’t a new problem. It’s been going on so long I sometimes fear that I might start sounding like a broken record.
I had been waving a red flag for years when in 2011 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally got around to issuing a statement about acetaminophen. The agency admitted that the drug was a leading cause of liver failure.
FDA failed to protect us from acetaminophen side effects
So what did the FDA do next?
Practically nothing. Oh they asked drug manufactures to consider dropping the dose of acetaminophen in their prescription products to 325 mg or less. A request that didn’t apply to over-the-counter products, and one that close to half of the drug companies simply ignored at the time.
Three years later—and hundreds of thousands of victims later—the FDA made another half-hearted attempt to do something. Since they had gotten nearly nowhere with their request to drug makers, they set their sights on doctors and pharmacists.
They asked doctors to consider not prescribing drugs with more than 325 mg. And they pushed responsibility onto pharmacists to notify docs if they just happened to notice a patient was getting over that amount.
Of course, with acetaminophen in so many over-the-counter products nobody explained how this pharmacist safety net was supposed to actually help. Or how reducing prescription dosages, but ignoring the fact that dozens of common over-the-counter products still contained far more than that, was any kind of a solution.
Following are just a few of the products that contain well over 325 mg of the drug…
|Over-the-Counter Drugs with Over 325 mg Acetaminophen|
|Tylenol Complete Cold, Cough & Flu Nighttime 500 mg|
|Tylenol Extra Strength 500 mg|
|Midol Complete Maximum Strength 500 mg|
|Adult Robitussin Max. Strength Severe Multi-Symptom Cough Cold+Flu Liquid 650 mg|
Want to know what the worst part of all is?
There’s absolutely zero evidence that a dose of acetaminophen over 325 mg has ANY extra benefits at all. The FDA freely admits it. Drug manufacturers ignore it. And every year people are hurt and die from overdosing on the drug.
Try natural pain relievers instead
My solution? Go through your medicine cabinet and check the labels of every last pain, cold and flu formula in there. If you spot acetaminophen toss them in the trash and try one of these safer pain relief alternatives instead.
Hidden inside the bright yellow (and delicious) spice curcumin is a special pain-relieving compound called turmeric. Turmeric is a unique anti-inflammatory that has the ability to target inflammation at a cellular level. You can add more curcumin to your favorite dishes, but to really top up your level of turmeric try a supplement instead.
Found inside pineapple of all places, bromelain is a natural pain-relieving enzyme. Bromelain targets inflammation, reducing swelling and pain right along with it. Research shows that this unique enzyme may even help you heal faster from an injury.
The herb Devil’s Claw has been shown to be effective at relieving all kinds of pain including arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis and lower back pain.
Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, is an herbal remedy originating in India. This powerful pain relieving remedy is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Studies hint that the oil may be able relieve joint pain as effectively as NSAID drugs, without the side effect.
Capsaicin is the element that gives hot peppers their heat. This natural anti-inflammatory relieves pain safely and effectively. In fact capsaicin has been shown to help relieve the joint and muscle pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis and even diabetic neuropathy.
Studies show the organosulfur compound MSM can help improve pain. MSM is a natural anti-inflammatory that, over time, could reduce swelling driving away arthritis-related aches. It’s typically found in comprehensive, multi-ingredient pain relieving formulas.
DMSO or (dimethyl sulfoxide):
DMSO, which is made from wood, has the ability to pass right through skin and tissue literally delivering pain and inflammation relief to the source of your problem. DMSO solutions are available online and in some health food stores.
Some topical pain-relieving formulas combine DMSO with other natural pain relievers. The DMSO “turbocharges” those other ingredients by delivering them right to where it hurts. One I like is Soothanol from my friends and affiliates at NorthStar Nutritionals.
Soothanol speeds pain relief to wherever you hurt—from your barking back to your aching knees.
Dr. Allan Spreen
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