December 29, 2005

When Painkillers Kill

According to this article, acetaminophen poisoning is on the rise.

Acetaminophen bottles currently recommend that adults take no more than 4,000 milligrams a day, or eight extra-strength pills.

Just a doubling of the maximum daily dose can be enough to kill, warns Dr. Anne Larson of the University of Washington Medical Center.


The Food and Drug Administration has long wrestled with the liver risk, warning two years ago that more than 56,000 emergency-room visits a year are due to acetaminophen overdoses and that 100 people die annually from unintentionally taking too much.

About eight years ago I had a wicked toothache that caused so much pain that I was popping Tylenol ever couple of hours. After I vomited and made it to my dentist I told him that I'd had about 14 Tylenol in the past 24 hours. I believe that that's about 7,000 mg -- nearly twice the recommended maximum.

"Don't take anymore," my dentist said. "I can't even give you lanicain right now or you'll start vomiting. I had to wait 'til the next day to have the work done, all the while suffering through the excruciating agony. I'm just glad a puked before I took anymore Tylenol.

So be careful out there, folks. Overdosing acetaminophen can cause sudden liver failure which, in a short time, can kill you. If you have a severe toothache, don;t overdue the meds. Better to just smash your kneecaps to take your mind off the pain in your mouth.

And don't forget to wash metal cans before you pop them open or open them with a can opener. Rats sometime urinate on them in warehouses and rat urine is poisonous.

Posted by Tuning Spork at December 29, 2005 07:45 PM | TrackBack

I found ibuprophen (Advil) did the best job on tooth pain for OTC (experience with waiting for root canal work). Nuprin was second best, but was good for overnight because it lasts ~12 hours (the pain would wake me up when the ibuprophen wore off).

Tylenol and asprin did little for my tooth pain. So from my experience, there isn't much reason to take acetaminophen unless one is allergic to asprin, don't want to bring down a fever (since fever is a body response to kill off invaders), or have stomach problems that asprin makes worse.

I don't know that nuprin was around eight years ago though.

Posted by: Edith at December 30, 2005 02:31 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Site Meter