Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Public confused about ingredients in pain relievers, study finds

Open bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol and Ext...

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From a 2 May 2011 Science News Daily article

ScienceDaily (May 2, 2011) — People take billions of doses of over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol every year, but many do not pay attention to the active ingredients they contain, such as acetaminophen, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study. That lack of knowledge about popular pain relievers plus particular ignorance of acetaminophen’s presence in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription medicines could be a key reason acetaminophen overdose has become the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S.

The study reported only 31 percent of participants knew Tylenol contained acetaminophen. In addition, 75 percent of participants knew Bayer contained aspirin; 47 percent knew Motrin contained ibuprofen; 19 percent knew Aleve contained naproxen sodium; and 19 percent knew Advil contained ibuprofen.

The solution proposed by the researchers is to develop a universal icon for acetaminophen that would appear on all medicine labels….

…”People may unintentionally misuse these medicines to a point where they cause severe liver damage,” Wolf said. “It’s easy to exceed the safe limit if people don’t realize how much acetaminophen they are taking. Unlike prescription products, there is no gatekeeper, no one monitoring how you take it.”

Individuals don’t understand they may be taking the drug simultaneously in multiple medications, said Jennifer King, lead author of the paper and project leader for medication safety research in Feinberg’s Health Literacy and Learning Program.

The study found only 41 percent of participants read the ingredients on drug labels….

Related Resources (from the University of Toledo Consumer Health Library Guide)

May 4, 2011 - Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories, Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , ,

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