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FDA Asks Health Care Providers to Limit Acetaminophen in Combination Drugs

The U.S. Food And Drug Administration recommends health care providers consider prescribing combination drug products that contain 325 milligrams or less of acetaminophen.
JOPLIN, MO.--- The U.S. Food And Drug Administration asks health care providers to limit the amount of dosage in prescription medicines. The request from the FDA targets prescriptions like codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. 

"It is actually the Tylenol portion itself. Sometimes in the public, we don't realize that Tylenol can actually be dangerous," said Doctor Pauala Hartzell, Freeman Urgent Care Medical Director.

Freeman Urgent Care Medical Director Doctor Pauala Hartzell says the FDA asked health care professionals to reduce the Tylenol dosage from 500 mg to 325 mg. So that means when you take two tablets every four hours, you're ingesting under 4,000 milligrams, which is the maximum safe limit for Tylenol.

"Even at that we don't recommend that you take two tablets every four hours everyday for several days in a row, because eventually that can damage your liver as well," said Dr. Hartzell. 

Another problem patients can have is taking pain medication with cold medicine. A lot of unintended damage can be done, which can sometimes be fatal.

"A lot of those will have Tylenol with them also, and so if you take the recommended does of that, you're up to over three grams of Tylenol with that product and then you've got three grams of Tylenol in your pain medicine. So then you're at six grams of Tylenol and you're definitely at risk for hypatitic failure," said Dr. Hartzell. 

Dr. Hartzell says doctors like herself go further than the FDA recommendations in order to keep people from overdosing.

"It's more of a matter of balancing medications so that each of them can do their part and lifestyle changes can help manage that, as well," said Dr. Harzell. 

Pharmacist say it's important that patients ask question about their prescribed medicines. 

"Let's say you have liver disease because of something else or you drink alcohol, your liver can be compromised in function anyway and if we put the Tylenol on top of it, we're really asking for problems," said Greg Cobble, P.I.C. Freeman Health System Quick Meds. 

The FDA recommends health care providers consider prescribing combination drug products that contain 325 milligrams or less of acetaminophen.

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