Tylenol and Drug Safety

>> Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Once again, Tylenol is under scrutiny for its safety. Ironic because the brand was built on a heritage of safety.

As it periodically does, the FDA is taking a look at specific dosing levels of acetaminophen, the drug found in Tylenol, to make sure that consumers are safely taking the drug.

As well they should.

I think there's a larger issue at play here, however. It's one thing to make sure that the dosing instructions call for a safe use of the drug. An absolute must. But it's another thing to have consumers follow the dosing instructions. Also an absolute must.

I'm afraid that the larger issue is that consumers don't follow the label instructions. They often take more than prescribed (often take more than prescribed!) and often mix in other drugs that they are taking at the same time. Which can result in an unsafe level of an otherwise safe drug.

I'm not saying that this is necessarily the case with Tylenol, but a more general issue about prescription and non-prescription drugs and how consumers take them. There's an over-riding sense that these products are safe, regardless of how they are taken. That is simply not the case.

The FDA regulates labelling and dosing for a reason. To keep these drugs safe. Consumers need to understand that just because the FDA deems a drug to be safe, it may not be safe when taken incorrectly.

I admire Tylenol for always standing for safety. Consumers need to do their part too and take their drugs safely. Tylenol or otherwise.

Follow this link to read a bit about the current situation with Tylenol: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/PainManagement/story?id=7955370&page=1

Hope this finds you well -- Jim


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