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Poison in the Medicine Cabinet
Acetaminophen overdose is the leading cause of liver failure in both the United States and Great Britain. Fifty percent of all acute liver failure in the U.S. is attributed to acetaminophen consumption. While many of these cases result from an overdose, either intentional or unintentional, even “correct dosage” has been linked in some cases to liver damage, liver failure and death. In the United States, approximately 56,000 liver injuries requiring emergency treatment, 26,000 hospitalizations and 458 deaths per year are attributed to acetaminophen consumption.
One of the main problems with this popular drug is how easy it is to overdose unintentionally. The FDA is well aware of the dangers of acetaminophen and recommended stronger label warnings in 2002. In 2009 it recommended that the standard dose be lowered.