Acetaminophen Overdose Concerns

I commend This American Life and ProPublica for covering the serious issue concerning acetaminophen overdoses in the recent program “Use Only as Directed.” An issue that was briefly discussed in the program is the fact that acetaminophen can be found in hundreds of medications, including many varieties of day and nighttime cough syrups, cold medications, and vapor rubs. Acetaminophen is also included in many strong prescription pain relief medications. As the program clearly demonstrated, acetaminophen is a safe and effective pain reliever, but taking an amount over the recommended dose can lead to disastrous outcomes. I encourage all patients to talk with their pharmacist about the presence of acetaminophen in their medication, the amount of acetaminophen they’re taking, and any strange or unusual symptoms.

Scott Vouri, Pharm.D.

Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice

St. Louis College of Pharmacy