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Tylenol Bottles Will Sport New Warnings on Lids Citing Risk of Acetaminophen Overdose

Filed August 30th, 2013 Laurie

In an unusual step, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has disclosed that bottles of the pain reliever Tylenol will soon contain red warnings alerting users to the fatally potential risks of overdosing on the drug. A growing pile of lawsuits and pressure from the government over the dangers of overdosing on acetaminophen played an important factor in the decision.

The new warning will read: “Contains Acetaminophen” and “Always Read the Label.”

The drug maker said the warning will appear on the cap of all bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol sold in the U.S. beginning in October, and on other Tylenol products in the coming months. The cap will warn consumers that the products contain acetaminophen, a pain-relieving ingredient that is the nation’s leading cause of sudden liver failure. The warnings will be placed on the caps to ensure that people who don’t normally read drug labels will see the warning, according to

Safety experts are especially concerned about “extra strength” products. A two-pill dose of Extra Strength Tylenol contains 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen. Some stores don’t even stock regular strength Tylenol because Extra Strength Tylenol is so popular.

Acetaminophen overdose was first identified in the 1990s. Overwhelmed by too much acetaminophen, the liver produces a byproduct that kills liver cells. Liver failure occurs when cells are no longer able to function. A patient then has approximately 24 to 48 hours to live without a transplant, reported.

An estimated 55,000 to 80,000 people arrive in emergency rooms each year because of acetaminophen overdoses. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ingredient can be found in more than 600 common over-the-counter products used by nearly one in four Americans, including Nyquil, Excedrin, and Sudafed. At least 500 people die of acetaminophen poisoning in the U.S. each year, according to

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