When an OTC purchase can put you in the hospital--or worse

The one drug that’s actually more dangerous without a prescription

Let’s be honest…a supplement could never get away with this.

If a supplement were even remotely connected to just a handful of deaths, the FDA would be out in SWAT gear stripping store shelves clean and doing everything they could to sound the warning alarms.

Of course, that won’t happen here. Not with this sacred cow.

But if you listen between the lines, you’ll hear a very frightening warning.

Because with this drug, the difference between a “safe” dose and a dangerous one is razor thin.

Here, there, and everywhere

It’s not hard to do.

You’re taking Extra Strength Tylenol for a headache, but also caught a bug at work. And you need a good night’s sleep. So you take a couple NyQuil.

That’s it.

That’s how easily a simple headache and cold could land you in the hospital…or worse.

Believe it or not, over 78,000 people STILL end up in the ER every year because of acetaminophen (and that’s just in the U.S.!)

And, far worse, hundreds of them die. Every year.

Yesterday, I told you how the FDA admitted that taking more than 325 mg of acetaminophen just isn’t worth the risk to your liver.

Because of that, it “requested” that drug makers knock down the dose in Rx pills. And it asked pharmacists to be on the lookout for doctors prescribing higher amounts.

But what about those boxes you can just grab at any Walgreens or 7-11?

Who’s on the “lookout” when you get Tylenol for your arthritis and another drug for your cold? The guy who pumps your gas?

And that’s pretty scary when you hear this warning – direct from a senior FDA scientist.

Giving a “Consumer Corner” talk on acetaminophen safety, the FDA’s Steve Sykes starts out by saying that the drug is “generally safe” at the recommended dose.

“But if you take more than that, even just a little more, it can cause serious, even fatal liver damage.”

And he goes on to warn us how easy it is to overdose. Then he admits that the drug is the leading cause of liver failure in the United States, and that it “might not be clear on the label” that products contain it.

He ends by saying “…if you take acetaminophen, please be careful.”

Really? So now the FDA’s advice to us is “Please be careful”?

Fortunately, we know not to rely on the FDA for anything.

So I found an online device called, “How much acetaminophen are you taking?” The results are shocking.

To find out if a drug you bought contains it, just put in a brand name and it will tell you.

It will also add up the acetaminophen amounts in different products, and alert you when you are reaching a dangerous – or even deadly dose.

Which, believe it or not, is just a little, tiny bit over what they call a “generally safe” one.

You can find it here.

“Over-the-counter pills left out of FDA acetaminophen limits” Jeff Gerth and T. Christian Miller, ProPublica, 1/16/2014, propublica.org

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