SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Drug maker Johnson and Johnson will be reducing the maximum daily dose for its extra strength Tylenol.
The move is to help prevent overdoses from acetaminophen, the key ingredient in the product.
Tylenol is a popular drug to reach for when we're not feeling well or in pain. But too much of the drug in it, acetaminophen, can have damaging effects on your body.
"It causes liver damage, and probably one of the most common types of overdoses we see here in the hospital," Avera Dr. Jennifer McKay said.
McKay says that's one reason she agrees with Johnson and Johnson's decision to reduce the maximum daily dose of its Extra Strength Tylenol to help prevent accidental overdose.
Starting this fall, labels on Extra Strength Tylenol packages will list the maximum daily dose as six pills, instead of eight.
"By lowering the dose from four grams a day to three grams a day total, what it does is gives us a little more leeway in terms of safety," McKay said.
McKay says the danger comes from people taking more than the recommended dose and from taking multiple medications containing acetaminophen.
"It can be present in pain medications, cold medicines. Some of it's even in Theraflu or NyQuil. So it's in a lot of things people don't realize so as they're going through their day, they're not taking those doses into account," McKay said.
McKay says it's perfectly safe to take Tylenol or Acetaminophen as long as you read the directions and follow the instructions.
"It's very safe to take, what I would say is read your packages and make sure you know what you're putting in your body. If there's any question, ask your primary care provider," McKay said.
The maximum daily dose for Regular Strength Tylenol and other adult pain relievers containing acetaminophen will also be reduced, beginning next year.
56,000 people are sent to the emergency room annually in the U.S. because of Acetaminophen overdoses. It can cause excessive liver damage. Early stages of liver damage may just be fatigue. Late stages include yellowing of the skin or eyes. You can find more on this story at the FDA website
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