FDA Panel Recommends Eliminating Some Pain Medications That Contain Acetaminophen

There will be a lot of discussion in the media about this FDA panel's recommendations.  Your Island Drug / LaConner Drug Pharmacists want to provide you with a little additional information.

The panel's focus was on the opportunity for overdose due to acetaminophen being in so many prescription and non-prescription drug products.  Further, none of their recommendations have been put into effect as of yet.  Rather, they are simply recommendations that the FDA will consider at a later time.

Acetaminophen, remains a safe option for many people if taken within recommended dose ranges.

The warning from the panel has always been a focal counseling point for our pharmacists.  Here are 4 key points:

  1. We often use the industry standard abbreviation for acetaminophen, APAP, on our prescription labels. For example, generic Vicodin which combines a narcotic called hydrocodone with acetaminophen would look like this on your Rx bottle; HYDROCOD/APAP 5/500 TAB.  The numbers after the drug abbreviation indicate the amount of each drug per tablet.  In this example, there is 5 mg of hydrocodone and 500mg of acetaminophen.
  2. On Rx pain products that combine acetaminophen with another ingredient, look for an auxiliary sticker on your Rx bottle alerting you to that fact.
  3. The total maximum doseage of acetaminophen in any 24 hr period, which the panel also recommended be reduced in the future, is 4,000 mg.  This equates to 8 extra strength Tylenol, or 8 of the generic Vicodin tablets used in the example above.
  4. Our pharmacists are here to help.  Please don't hesitate to call or stop by any time we are open to ask a pharmacist to review both the prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking.
The above article is general information that is in no way intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any medical condition.  Further it is not intended, nor recommended, that this information
be used without the supervision of your medical provider.