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FDA Limits Acetaminophen in Prescription Combination Products; Requires Liver Toxicity Warnings
Date:1/13/2011

SILVER SPRING, Md., Jan. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking manufacturers of prescription combination products that contain acetaminophen to limit the amount of acetaminophen to no more than 325 milligrams (mg) in each tablet or capsule.

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The FDA also is requiring manufacturers to update labels of all prescription combination acetaminophen products to warn of the potential risk for severe liver injury.

Acetaminophen, also called APAP, is a drug that relieves pain and fever. It is combined in many prescription products with other ingredients, usually opioids such as codeine (Tylenol with Codeine), oxycodone (Percocet), and hydrocodone (Vicodin).

"FDA is taking this action to make prescription combination pain medications containing acetaminophen safer for patients to use," said Sandra Kweder, M.D., deputy director of the Office of New Drugs in FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). "Overdose from prescription combination products containing acetaminophen account for nearly half of all cases of acetaminophen-related liver failure in the United States; many of which result in liver transplant or death."

The elimination of higher-dose prescription combination acetaminophen products will be phased in over three years and should not create a shortage of pain medication. Patients and health care professionals are being notified of the new limitation on acetaminophen content, and of the labeling change, in a drug safety communication issued by CDER. The FDA believes that prescription combination products containing no more than 325 mg of acetaminophen per tablet are effective for treating pain.

"There is no immediate danger to patients who take these combination pain medications and they should continue to take them as directed by their
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SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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