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What Patients Need to Know about Acetaminophen
Date:11/12/2012

etaminophen on the same day – most often an over the counter pain medication.

Four of the 249 patients (1.6 percent) exceeded the recommended daily dose of 4 grams. "In our anecdotal experience, patients do not always understand the meaning of 4000 mg or 4 g and it is more helpful to say something like, 'you should not take more than 8 pills of this medication per day," said Dr. Serper.

Compounding the confusion was that acetaminophen was identified by one of two abbreviations (APAP or ACET) on the prescription label 87.3 percent of the time, and only 59 percent of those prescription bottles had an acetaminophen warning. Dr. Serper addressed this point, "It is equally and perhaps more important to have clear and universal labeling of acetaminophen on prescription bottles, something which does not routinely occur, as shown by our study."

The general confusion faced by patients who are unaware of the active ingredients in their prescription medication because of insufficient or inconsistent labeling of ingredients and warnings, as well as insufficient counseling by prescribers, can put patients in danger of exceeding the daily recommended dose of acetaminophen which can lead to acute liver failure. Researchers concluded that the elimination of abbreviations on prescription labels and more consistent verbal counseling from healthcare providers was needed to minimize this danger.

Abstract title:

Active Ingredient Confusion for Acetaminophen-Containing Medications: A Cause of Double Dipping

AASLD is the leading medical organization for advancing the science and practice of hepatology. Founded by physicians in 1950, AASLD's vision is to prevent and cure liver diseases. This year's Liver Meeting®, held in Boston, Massachusetts November 9 – 13, will bring together more than 9,000 researchers from 55 countries.

A pressroom will be available from November 10 at the annual meeting. For copies of abstracts and
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SOURCE American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)
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