Overuse of Generic Tylenol Led to Florida Man’s Death

The death of a Florida man is being blamed on his use of over-the-counter painkillers made with <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/Acetaminophen-Liver-Damage-Injury-Failure-Lawsuit-Lawyer">acetaminophen. According to a report on WPTV, doctors say 49-year-old Mark Erdman died in part because of liver damage brought on by overuse of generic forms of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/Tylenol-Liver-Damage-Injury-Lawsuit-Lawyer">Tylenol.

According to the report, prior to his death Erdman had been suffering from a toothache, but without health insurance, he couldn’t afford treatment. So for several weeks, he coped by taking acetaminophen, as well as over-the-counter ibuprofen. According to his wife, Erdman was taking up to eight pills a day for a couple weeks.

Erdman eventually became violently ill, and his wife rushed him to the hospital. Doctors informed the family that a liver transplant was needed, but they were unable to obtain funds or get Erdman Medicaid coverage before he was declared brain dead. Erdman left behind his wife of 19 years and their two children.

According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, acetaminophen overdose resulted in more than 40,000 calls to poison control centers in 2009. Acetaminophen overdose is also the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S. according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). In many instances, these overdoses have fatal outcomes.

According to the FDA, the current recommended maximum daily dose on labels of acetaminophen is 4,000 mg. Many acetaminophen liver injuries occur because a person is taking two acetaminophen products at one time, and this can exceed the recommended daily limit. Many patients may not know that the prescription painkiller they’re taking contains acetaminophen and often they aren’t warned to avoid other acetaminophen-containing products.

In April 2009, the FDA directed the makers of acetaminophen-containing over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications and fever reducers, including Tylenol, to include new warnings on their labels regarding the risk of liver injury. The final rule required manufacturers to ensure that the active ingredients of these drugs are prominently displayed on the labels on both the packages and bottles.

Earlier this year, the FDA announced it was limiting the amount of acetaminophen allowed in prescription painkillers like Vicodin, Percocet, Tylenol with Codeine, and Oxycodone to 325 mg, down from 750 mg. In making the announcement, the agency cited the risk of liver injury. The agency also mandated that prescription combination acetaminophen products include “black box” warnings on their labels alerting users to the potential for liver damage.

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