Reasons Not to Panic Over a Painkiller

July 7, 2009
New York Times

Few drugs are more ubiquitous than acetaminophen, the pain reliever found in numerous over-the-counter cold remedies and the headache drug Tylenol.

But last week, a federal advisory committee raised concerns about liver damage that can occur with overuse of acetaminophen, and the panel even recommended that the Food and Drug Administration ban two popular prescription drugs, Vicodin and Percocet, because they contain it.

The news left many consumers confused and alarmed. Could regular use of acetaminophen for pain relief put them at risk for long-term liver damage? To help resolve the confusion, here are some questions and answers about acetaminophen.

What prompted the committee to look at acetaminophen in the first place? More…