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Hospitalized Patients Are Given Too Much Pain Medication: Unsafe Acetaminophen Levels In Many
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Hospitalized Patients Are Given Too Much Pain Medication: Unsafe Acetaminophen Levels In Many

Nearly three percent of all patients admitted into hospitals across the United States are being given far more than the safe level of certain medications, including the pain reliever, acetaminophen. That drug, most commonly known as the active ingredient in Tylenol is also in other drugs like Percocet and others and can cause serious health problems when taken in doses that are higher than the recommended levels.

Many of the patients that are in the hospital are often taking more than one drug which contains acetaminophen which can increase their risk of being given more than what is currently considered a safe, daily level. Right now, the recommended level is four grams per twenty four period. The amount in a single dose, (typically two, extra strength pills) is one gram.

Researchers, led by Dr. Jesse Civan from the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital looked at nearly fifty thousand records of previous hospital admissions and all of the medications that they were given while in house. Focusing on those who stayed in the hospital for at least one day or longer narrowed those records down substantially. Dr. Civan found that more than a thousand people were given the equivalent of more than four grams of Tylenol, Percocet or similar drugs.

The study revealed that only a few of those patients were given blood tests to check for problems with their liver function. Dr. Civan explained that in most cases, liver function tests are usually only done in specific cases, for instance in people who are at increased risk of liver damage. In those people who did have these tests, the researchers found no adverse health problems and no lingering liver related problems.

The research is important because many people consider over the counter medications like Tylenol to be safe and may not have any concern about how much they are taking throughout the day. Patients need to be up front with their doctors about how much of this drug as well as others they are taking to avoid being over dosed on potentially harmful medications. In addition, it is important for patients to make sure that they are vocalizing their exact needs, including with their pain levels. Effective pain management is a team effort between the doctor, nursing staff and the patient. If you are still having pain, it is important to let the medical staff know so that they can determine if a different medication is warranted.

Street Talk

Absolutely the best article I have read today! You are so spot on with this one Amie. Also, we have an epidemic with heroin around the US today, and you know that it is also a pain killer.

  about 1 decade ago
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