The Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition (AAC) displayed research that showed progress is being made in increasing awareness of the safe use of acetaminophen. One of the most common drug ingredients in the U.S., the data collected from the National Poison Data System showed a steady decline in the number of unintentional overdoses—whether through dosing errors or accidental misuses—since the peak year of 2009.

The purpose of the Know Your Does campaign, founded by the AAC in 2011, is to educate consumers on how to safely use acetaminophen. From back pain to cold and flu symptoms and headaches, acetaminophen has many practical medicinal uses, and 50 million Americans do so every week. This drug is also found in over 600 over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines.

Like most things, acetaminophen is safe and effective when it is used as directed; however, there are serious issues that can arise if the drug is taken more than recommended. Overdosing on acetaminophen can lead to liver damage and other health complications.

According to PR Newswire, “Know Your Dose has raised awareness of acetaminophen as a drug ingredient, armed healthcare providers with free educational materials for their patients, and encouraged consumers to follow four key safe use steps:

  1. Always read and follow the label
  2. Know if your medicines contain acetaminophen
  3. Take only one medicine at a time that contains acetaminophen
  4. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about dosing instructions or medicines that contain acetaminophen”

A survey conducted by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) noted that consumers who understand that exceeding the recommended daily dose of acetaminophen may lead to liver damage increased from 78 percent in 2010 to 87 percent in 2013. Additionally, the number of consumers who think it is important to check the medicine label for the maximum daily dose increased from 93 percent in 2010 to 98 percent in 2013.

The increased trend in consumer awareness, in addition to the decrease in unintentional overdoses, is a sign that efforts to educate consumers on the safe use of acetaminophen are working. John Whyte, M.D., M.P.H., director of FDA’s Professional Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement, stated that “acetaminophen is widely used and it’s extremely important that we educate patients and consumers about how to take it safely.”

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Written by PRS Team — July 08, 2016


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