Beware of Tylenol!

Tylenol can cause liver failure! It accounts for 40% of liver failure hospitalizations, Recommendations for FDA Interventions to Decrease the Occurrence of Acetaminophen Hepatotoxicitymore, more than “100,000 calls to Poison Control Centers, 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospitalizations and nearly 500 deaths” in this country annually. William M. Lee, Acetaminophen Toxicity: Changing Perceptions on a Social/Medical Issue, 46(4) Hepatology 966, 966 (2007).

While the brand name Tylenol has been used in the United States since 1955, id., it was not until the late 1990s that independent research established the link between acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, and acute liver failure.

The manufacturer, McNeil-PPC, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, probably knew of the problem before then. As early as 1991, it had a project underway to find a compound to limit the liver toxicity of acetaminophen. It is believed that an effective ingredient was found, however, rather than admitting a health issue by continuing the project, McNeil-PPC shut down the project.

McNeil-PPC even continued to advertise Tylenol as being the “most trusted”, the “#1 choice of doctors”, and “recommended the most by people who know the most.”

Through pressure from the FDA and civil litigation, McNeil-PPC has added warnings. Even still, the warnings are inadequate:

  • No mention of causing acute liver failure
  • The term “liver damage” does not appear in the label
  • The label doesn’t mention the potential of “severe liver damage”
  • No mention of an increased risk while fasting

Maintaining a strong civil justice system is a key to our safety.

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Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.

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