Melinda Beck writes in the Wall Street Journal Health Journal column, “Whether or not the Food and Drug Administration decides to limit sales of acetaminophen, consumers should know this: It’s easy to take more than the recommended daily dose without realizing it. The margin between a safe dose and a potentially lethal one is small. The first symptoms of acute liver failure caused by an overdose seem like the flu and don’t set in for several days, by which time it may be too late to save your liver and consequently your life.” Beck also writes that acetaminophen grew “in popularity in large part because of its reputation for safety,” but “pain experts say that reputation for safety may be lulling consumers into complacency. Some consumers don’t think twice about popping more than the recommended amount and don’t bother to read the ingredients on familiar over-the-counter products.”
Similarly, in her Well column in the New York Times Tara Parker-Pope poses some questions and answers regarding the panel’s recommendations, the news of which “left many consumers confused and alarmed.” For instance, Pope poses the question of whether consumers should “switch to other types of over-the-counter pain relief” and answers: “Emphatically, no. Every drug has risks and side effects, but over all the risk of acetaminophen to any individual is low.” Pope also says the main lesson from the panel’s review was that because “acetaminophen is in so many products, consumers need to be vigilant about reading labels, and they need to keep track of how much of the drug they are ingesting daily.”
From the American Association for Justice news release.