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Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and the hidden dangers

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Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Gout

Acetaminophen, also known as Paracetamol or Tylenol, is among the most commonly used over-the-counter pain medications available today. Many individuals reach for it without much consideration when faced with occasional aches or pains. However, acetaminophen may pose significant dangers, even when taken as directed.

Like many over-the-counter medications, we often exceed recommended dosages, sometimes taking 3 or 4 pills instead of the suggested 2. However, with this pain reliever, disregarding dosage instructions could have deadly consequences. Severe health issues such as liver damage and even death have been reported from what may seem like "mild" overdoses. Surprisingly, hospitals handle more cases of acetaminophen overdoses annually than opiate overdoses. This statistic may come as a shock, especially if you've never heard of such occurrences before.

Each year, acetaminophen leads to over 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospitalizations, and around 460 deaths from acute liver failure. It's the primary reason for Poison Control calls, surpassing 100,000 annually. Nearly half of all acute liver failure cases in the US result from acetaminophen poisoning, even when used according to daily recommendations over a few weeks.

Mixing acetaminophen with other narcotics like hydrocodone and codeine, consuming alcohol while taking acetaminophen, exceeding the recommended dosage, or combining multiple medications containing acetaminophen significantly raises the risk of overdose. It's crucial to be mindful of the presence of acetaminophen in common cold medications and popular prescription pain drugs like Percocet and Vicodin. If you've been drinking, it's advisable to opt for a different medication to alleviate a hangover headache. Combining alcohol with acetaminophen can elevate the risk of kidney damage by 123%. It's essential to share this critical information, particularly with college-aged individuals.

Regrettably, the FDA has been aware of the severe risks associated with even minor misuse of this medication but neglected to address it for over three decades. It wasn't until 2009 that warning labels were added to the product. Recently, the FDA has advised physicians to refrain from prescribing dosages containing more than 325mg due to the lack of evidence of its benefits compared to the significant risk of major liver damage.

How exactly does it cause liver damage?

Acetaminophen causes liver damage by depleting levels of the body's primary antioxidant, glutathione. This antioxidant plays a crucial role in protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. Rapid administration of N-acetylcysteine, an amino acid precursor to glutathione, can help mitigate acetaminophen's toxicity and prevent death. Apart from liver toxicity, studies have linked acetaminophen to various health issues, including alterations in gut health, kidney and heart health, increased cancer risk, heightened risk of autism and ADHD, changes in brain health when used during pregnancy, disruptions in reproductive function, and severe skin reactions and asthma.

How does it affect Gout?

Acetaminophen can have a significant negative impact on the liver and kidneys, which are crucial for eliminating uric acid from the body, especially in individuals with Gout. Unfortunately, many people may not realize the role acetaminophen plays in exacerbating Gout Attacks due to its harmful effects on these vital organs.

It's important to recognize that over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen, despite their easy accessibility, may not always be safe. While short-term use at recommended doses can be beneficial, it's essential to use them judiciously. If you find yourself relying on acetaminophen or similar pain relievers for chronic pain, it's wise to explore alternative methods for long-term relief and healing rather than relying solely on these medications. Improving gut health with probiotics, boosting inflammation-fighting abilities with omega-3 fatty acids from high-quality Krill oil, maintaining adequate levels of Vitamin D and other essential nutrients, and considering natural pain relievers like Curcumin (Turmeric) and Boswellia can offer safer and healthier alternatives for addressing the underlying causes of pain.

Common Over-the-Counter Brand Name Medicines Containing Acetaminophen

Actifed®, Alka-Seltzer Plus LiquidGels®, Anacin®, Benadryl®, Cepacol®, Contac®, Coricidin®, Dayquil®, Dimetapp®, Dristan®, Excedrin®, Feverall®, Formula 44®, Goody's®, Powders Liquiprin®, Midol®, Nyquil®, Panadol®, Robitussin®, Saint Joseph®, Aspirin-Free Singlet®, Sinutab®, Sudafed®, Theraflu®, Triaminic®, TYLENOL® Brand Products Vanquish®, Vicks®, Zicam®, *And store brands

Common Prescription Medicines Containing Acetaminophen

Endocet®, Fioricet®, Hycotab, Hydrocet®, Hydrocodone Bitartrate, Lortab®, Percocet®, Phenaphen®, Sedapap®, Tapanol®, Tylenol®with Codeine, Tylox®, Ultracet®, Vicodin®, Zydone®, *And generic medicines

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