ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Millions of Americans use Tylenol every week, but overdosing on it is a surprisingly common cause of death. In fact, a new study indicates overdosing on the active ingredient in Tylenol has caused 1,500 deaths in the past decade.
The active ingredient in Tylenol is acetaminophen, and overdosing on it is deadly. The director of the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center says most calls they get they receive, the top deadly poison has always been acetaminophen. He says they see about four of five deaths a year from it.
A new study by Pro Publica draws attention to the problem by showing how many people are dying nationally and availability is the reason behind the high rate of overdoses.
Acetaminophen is the most common drug ingredient in America. It’s in more than 600 prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Too large a dose damages your liver. People don't realize acetaminophen is in multiple medications like Nyquil - for example.
Parents may fail to communicate about who is giving a child medicine, and accidentally give the child too much.
“The public needs to understand whenever you're taking a medication, whether it's over the counter or a prescription, know what drug you're taking. And don't add another drug to the mix unless you know it's ok to do that," said Director Jess Benson of the New Mexico Poison Control Center.
Adults can take 1 to 2 extra strength tablets every six hours. That’s 500-1000 mg per dose, no more than 4 times a day. For children, it varies by age and instructions should be on the label.
If more information, contact the Poison Control Center 1800-222-1222.
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