Many Don't Recognize Risk of Mixing Tylenol with Other Acetaminophen Medications

Many might assume that they are not “mixing medications” when they take different types of the same medication. But a nationwide poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates International conducted earlier this year – and commissioned by ProPublica and This American Life – shows this isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to Tylenol. Taken as recommended, this over-the-counter medicine can help relieve minor aches and pains. But taken in high doses, it could cause serious or even fatal harm.

The poll revealed that although 80 percent of the respondents were aware of the serious side effects when taking too much of the medicine (such as liver damage), approximately half had no awareness of safety warnings. One of the more common issues is when Tylenol is mixed with another medication containing acetaminophen, which could result in the person accidentally overdosing.

Many thought it was safe to take different medicines containing acetaminophen. Thirty-five percent polled considered it acceptable to take the maximum dose of Extra Strength Tylenol along with the medication Nyquil.

So while on the surface there appears to be a high number of individuals who know Tylenol could be unsafe when taken in high doses, there seems to be inconsistencies in understanding the effects of combining this product with other medications. This, despite warnings on the Tylenol label.

People are oftentimes unaware of the amount of acetaminophen contained not only in over-the-counter medications (OTC) but prescription medicine, too. At this time, OTC medications must warn that severe liver damage can result from an overdose, but don’t have to include a label warning that overdose can cause death. Only prescription medications do. Doctors and pharmacists could be helpful resources in making sure patients are not accidentally overdosing.

Those injured as a result of mixing medications may seek consultation with an attorney to review the specifics of the case – such as if a doctor prescribed the medication or allowed the patient to mix dangerous over-the-counter and/or prescription drugs. Call Gacovino, Lake & Associates at 800-246-4878.

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