Know Your Dose – Taking Too Much Acetaminophen This Cold & Flu Season Can Be Harmful

November 15, 2017

Acetaminophen is Found in More Than 600 Different Over-The-Counter and Prescription Medicines

Dr. Diane Padden, Family Nurse Practitioner and Vice President, American Association of Nurse Practitioners

(Washington, D.C., Wednesday, November 15, 2017)Acetaminophen is one of the most common drug ingredients in the U.S. It is used by 50 million Americans every week to treat a variety of symptoms, from headaches and back pain to fever and other cold and flu symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects the cold and flu season will peak this year between the months of December and February. Americans catch about one billion colds every year, and seven in 10 use over-the-counter medicines to treat cold and flu symptoms, so it’s an important time to ensure consumers are using these products safely.

Dr. Diane Padden, family nurse practitioner and vice president at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, comments on the safe use of acetaminophen.

SOUNDBITE #1:

ACETAMINOPHEN IS FOUND IN MORE THAN SIX HUNDRED OVER-THE-COUNTER AND PRESCRIPTION MEDICINES. IT’S SAFE AND EFFECTIVE WHEN USED AS DIRECTED, BUT THERE IS A LIMIT TO HOW MUCH YOU CAN TAKE IN A 24-HOUR PERIOD. TAKING MORE THAN DIRECTED IS AN OVERDOSE AND CAN LEAD TO LIVER DAMAGE.

SOUNDBITE #2:

IT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER FOUR MAIN SAFE USE STEPS WHEN TAKING ACETAMINOPHEN. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW THE LABEL, KNOW IF YOUR MEDICINES CONTAIN ACETAMINOPHEN, TAKE ONLY ONE MEDICINE AT A TIME THAT CONTAINS ACETAMINOPHEN, AND BE SURE TO ASK A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER OR PHARMACIST IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT DOSING INSTRUCTIONS.

For more information, visit KnowYourDose.org.

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