The over-the-counter pain reliever Tylenol has been on the market since 1955 when McNeil Consumer Health (Johnson & Johnson) introduced the medication as Tylenol Elixir, initially marketed to children. The brand name Tylenol (acetaminophen) quickly became popular among adults and children alike to treat pain, fever, and symptoms of cold, cough, flu and allergies. Tylenol is now one of the best-selling pain relievers on the market in North America, more popular than medications containing aspirin and ibuprofen. In fact, a 2002 survey indicates that one in five U.S. adults takes Tylenol for fever or pain relief each week. Despite the popularity of Tylenol however, recent research has suggested that the drug may be associated with a risk of severe side effects, including overdose and liver failure. If you took Tylenol and have since suffered from overdose or liver failure side effects, contact a Tylenol attorney to discuss your legal options.
Tylenol overdose can occur even from one unintentional overdose, resulting in symptoms like nausea, vomiting, irritability, sweating, appetite loss and diarrhea. After 24 to 72 hours, the early symptoms of Tylenol overdose may dissipate, but symptoms of liver failure may begin shortly after. The first noticeable symptom of liver failure is typically abdominal pain or tenderness in the upper right area, often followed by symptoms like nausea and vomiting, jaundice, bleeding, dark urine and low blood sugar.
Patients suffering from a Tylenol overdose typically have their stomach pumped to remove any pill fragments. In some cases, the patient’s doctor may choose to treat with activated charcoal, which binds and deactivates many medications. Patients thought to be at risk of liver failure may be treated with a drug called Mucomyst, which functions by indirectly replenishing glutathione, which detoxifies the toxic metabolite of acetaminophen. Tylenol overdose leading to liver failure may also be accompanied by heart problems or kidney failure, as well as dangerous complications like multiple organ failure, infections, or swelling of the brain, all of which can be fatal.
In addition to frequently taking large doses of Tylenol, which is known to be dangerous, taking Tylenol as recommended may also lead to acute liver failure. According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, even healthy adults taking a maximum dose of Tylenol for two weeks had abnormal liver test results. Furthermore, the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting System received 404 reports of acute liver failure in 2005, a significant increase from 89 in 1995. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is the drug most commonly associated with these liver failure reports. In 2009, the FDA finally issued a report recommending stronger warnings and dose limits on acetaminophen-containing drugs like Tylenol, due to an increased risk of liver failure from Tylenol overdose.
The side effects potentially associated with Tylenol are serious and may lead to life-threatening complications in patients. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect and you believe Tylenol to be the cause, contact a Tylenol attorney for legal help. You may have grounds to file a Tylenol lawsuit against McNeil Consumer Health (Johnson & Johnson), in order to seek financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. You are not at fault for any injuries caused by a dangerous pharmaceutical drug. Drug companies like McNeil are expected to produce and distribute safe medications, and should be held liable for any adverse side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. By hiring a qualified Tylenol lawyer to represent your case, you can protect your rights and hold the allegedly negligent drug company liable for its potentially dangerous drug.