"The new cap message is designed to help encourage appropriate acetaminophen use and help reduce the risk of accidental overdose," said a statement from McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of of McNeil-PPC. "With more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription medications containing acetaminophen on the market, this is an important step because it will help remind consumers to always read the label."
Acetaminophen overdose is one of the most common poisonings worldwide. People often think that acetaminophen, a pain-relieving medicine, is extremely safe, but it can be deadly if taken in large doses, the National Institute of Health said.
Tylenol is a brand name for acetaminophen, but since so many other medicines -- including Anacin-3, Liquiprin, Panadol, Percocet and Tempra -- contain acetaminophen, sick or injured people could accumulate hazardous amounts of acetaminophen.
Common dosage forms and strengths are:
-- Junior tablets: 160 milligrams.
-- Regular strength: 325 mg.
-- Extra strength: 500 mg.
-- Liquid: 160 mg/teaspoon.
Dr. William Lee, director of the Clinical Center for Liver Diseases at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said acetaminophen comes in many forms: headache relief, sleep aids, cold and flu remedies, even some prescription painkillers and people might not realize how much they are taking.
"It is easy to lose track of how much combined acetaminophen you're consuming when taking combinations of medicines, particularly for different ailments such as arthritis and perhaps a cold," Lee said in a statement in January.
The average adult should avoid more than 4,000 mgs. of acetaminophen per day, the equivalent of eight extra-strength tablets, and should not take more than 2,000 mg to 3,000 mg for those with liver problems like hepatitis or for those who drink regularly, Lee said.