Tylenol, the wonder drug pain reliever of the 1960’s and 70’s. is now the number 1 cause of liver failure an article in New Scientist is saying.
New Scientist: A popular over-the-counter painkiller is now the leading cause of acute liver failure in the US – and almost half of those cases are accidental overdoses.
Paracetamol (or acetaminophen as it is known in the US) is used by millions of Americans each year, and is commonly thought to be safe. Until 1980, paracetamol was not even listed as a cause of acute liver failure. But between 1998 and 2003, the proportion of cases of liver failure caused by the drug nearly doubled.
William Lee at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and his colleagues followed patients with acute liver failure who were in a coma. Of the 275 people with paracetamol poisoning, 8 per cent received a liver transplant, 65 per cent survived without one and 27 per cent died.