A study completed by two Boston hospitals revealed that one in every 15 patients who were treated with acetaminophen got more than the maximum daily recommended dose at least once. Acetaminophen, sold as Tylenol, has the potential to cause liver damage and even death when taken in large doses. The maximum daily dose is 4 grams for most people or 3 grams for people 65 and older and those with liver disease, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations.
Acetaminophen is a common painkiller used by itself, but it also an ingredient in stronger narcotics like Percocet and Vicodin. Therefore, patients can sometimes be given more than the recommended dose if they are taking multiple drugs while hospitalized. In some situations, liver damage and even death from an acetaminophen overdose can occur. Acetaminophen causes three times as many cases of liver failure as all other drugs combined, and is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States.
The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, was done by researchers from Partners HealthCare System Inc in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Electronic health records of 23,750 adults treated at two hospitals during the summer of 2010 were reviewed to collect the data.
The findings reveal that patients in the surgical and intensive care units are most likely to be over-administered acetaminophen. Patients given multiple drugs that contained acetaminophen were also at risk for not being monitored to make sure they did not exceed to recommended dosage.
Experts say there is a need for a more technologically advanced method of tracking aggregate doses of ingredients in drugs such as acetaminophen that are given in multiple medications given to a single patient. Physicians agree that it can be difficult to calculate exactly how much of a certain drug a patient has received from different sources by hand. Still, others say it is possible that doctors and nurses over-administering acetaminophen will likely drop in the future as the FDA cracks down on high doses of acetaminophen in narcotics.
The Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling cases involving pharmaceutical and drug product injuries. Our extremely skilled team of medical malpractice attorneys and medical experts is dedicated to ensuring you receive proper compensation for your personal injuries. If you have been injured by acetaminophen, Tylenol or any other pharmaceutical drug or any other type of negligent care received by a medical provider, contact the medical malpractice attorneys of Messa & Associates for a free consultation. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More