Keeping track of medications and their associated risks may be more complicated than initially realized.
Most of us are very familiar with Tylenol and probably have a bottle in our medicine cabinets. It is a very effective pain and fever reducer, and safe when taken correctly. However, too much acetaminophen may lead to sudden liver failure and possibly death. The elderly, as with all medication side effects, are more susceptible.
How much is too much? The maximum dosage per day of acetaminophen for the elderly is 3000mg. A regular strength Tylenol has 325mg of acetaminophen and Extra-strength Tylenol has 500mg. Maximum tablets per day, of pure acetaminophen, are 9 tablets of regular strength Tylenol or 6 tablets of extra-strength.
Easy, right? Wrong. The catch is that acetaminophen is in many other products, over 600 total. It is commonly added to multi-symptom cold medications and to prescription pain medications such as Vicodin and Percocet. If you or a loved one take these medications, their acetaminophen content must be taken into account when calculating the total daily dose of acetaminophen.
As of January, 2014, acetaminophen containing pain medications such Percocet and Vicodin, are required to limit the acetaminophen portion of their medications to 325mg or the equivalent of 1 regular strength tablet. This change in the regulations allows for a standard acetaminophen content making it easier for the consumer to keep track of their daily acetaminophen intake.
For a link to some of the most common acetaminophen containing products please visit www.knowyourdose.org/common-medications.
Contact Our Personal Pharmacist to learn more about medication management and risk assessment.