During the last decade, more than 1,500 Americans died after accidentally taking too much of a drug renowned for its safety: acetaminophen, one of the nation's most popular pain relievers.
Acetaminophen – the active ingredient in Tylenol – is considered safe when taken at recommended doses. Tens of millions of people use it weekly with no ill effect. But in larger amounts, especially in combination with alcohol, the drug can damage or even destroy the liver. The data show that acetaminophen is linked to more deaths than any other over-the-counter pain reliever.
Are you at risk? Try this Drug Lookup Tool from ProPublica, an independent, non-profit news organization.
Sources: "Use Only As Directed," Jeff Gerth and T. Christian Miller, ProPublica, September 20, 2013. Click here to listen to a public radio broadcast of this story.