Overdose Concerns Prompt Tylenol Dosage Change

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Johnson & Johnson will soon lower the recommended daily dosage of its Extra Strength Tylenol due to overdose concerns.

This fall, the McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of the company will change maximum dosage levels on the popular painkiller from eight pills a day to six pills a day.
Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in the prescription painkillers Percocet and Vicodin, is Tylenol.  When mixed with other drugs, the ingredient can cause liver failure.

Doctors say many people taking multiple medicines don't always realize how much acetaminophen they are ingesting.  The problems sends nearly 56,000 Americans to the hospital each year.

"Acetaminophen is safe when used as directed," Dr. Edwin Kuffner, head of McNeil's over-the-counter medical affairs, said in a statement.

"McNeil is revising its labels for products containing acetaminophen in an attempt to decrease the likelihood of accidental overdosing," he added.

The company also plans to lower dosage levels on regular Tylenol early next year.

Doctors say patients should not wait and heed the new guidelines now.

*Originally aired on July 29, 2011.

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