Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Tylenol, is lowering the dosing instructions for their widely used painkiller in an effort to reduce the number of accidental overdoses from acetaminophen, the product’s active ingredient.
The change will see the current dosage of 4,000 mg per day (8 500mg pills) drop to 3,000 mg per day (6 pills).
“Acetaminophen is safe when used as directed,” said Dr. Edwin Kuffner, vice president of OTC Medical Affairs and Clinical Research at McNeil Consumer Healthcare. “But, when too much is taken, it (overdosing) can cause liver damage.”
According to McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson, more than 50 million Americans use acetaminophen – a pain killer found in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription medications – each week to treat pain, fever, and other conditions associated with cold and flu symptoms.
“Some people accidentally exceed the recommended dose when taking multiple products at the same time, often without realizing they contain acetaminophen or by not reading and following the dosing instructions,” Kuffner said. “McNeil says it is working with other acetaminophen manufacturers to make sure its products have similar instructions.”
In addition to changing the labels on extra-strength Tylenol products this fall, McNeil also plans to lower the maximum daily dose on regular strength Tylenol and other adult products containing acetaminophen starting in 2012.