Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tylenol in the News--Again

I'm not a medical expert, but it seems Tylenol has a new pain: Concerns about liver damage that can occur with overuse of the painkiller acetaminophen, which is Tylenol's active ingredient.

The FDA is considering new restrictions because people may inadvertently consume too much acetaminophen if they use multiple products that contain the painkiller. It's also calling for a "black box warning" to draw attention to safety precautions on each product that contains acetaminophen.

However, when consumers use these medications correctly, meaning they follow label directions and track the amount of acetaminophen they swallow during the day, experts say there is much less risk of liver damage.

Tylenol's challenge is to be sure people fully understand the issues and are careful about taking the proper dosage. Its home page acknowledges these concerns with the headline: "Your Safety Is Our Number One Priority." Click to learn more and up comes a letter signed by the Senior Medical Director of Medical Affairs for McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Tylenol's parent. Tylenol also took out a full-page ad in the Sunday New York Times to explain the importance of correct dosage.

Tylenol's revenues could feel the pain if people become confused or afraid and simply stop buying the product. Of course Tylenol is taking the high road in marketing a product that benefits many people, by emphasizing safety as well as efficacy. Who would expect any less from the brand that is the textbook case of how to handle a crisis?

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