Tylenol

Dr. Cox: Did you actually just page me to find out how much Tylenol to give to Mrs. Lendsner?

J.D.: I was worried that it could exacerbate the patient's... 

Dr. Cox: It's regular strength Tylenol. Here's what-chya do: Get her to open her mouth, take a handful, and throw it at her. Whatever sticks, that's the correct dosage.

Of Dr. Cox's many rants on the comedy show Scrubs, this is definitely one of the funnier and more memorable1. However, it isn't quite accurate.

Tylenol (a.k.a. acetaminophen or paracetamol2), unbeknownst to many, is actually a fairly toxic drug. Its ubiquity has lulled us into a false sense of security about its safety. But as our resident chemist Dr. Josh Bloom...

knee arthritis via shutterstock Knee Arthritis via shutterstock

People with various aches and pains seek relief from a variety of medicines — it used to be that aspirin was the go-to analgesic, but it was mostly replaced with Advil and Aleve.

We now know that aspirin (an example of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or NSAID drug) can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, among other ills, as do Advil and Aleve....

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 4.18.13 PMDr. Richard Friedman certainly makes his point. But unfortunately, he fails to make a very important one, so in this instance public health was not completely well served.

In a recent New York Times op-ed, entitled "How Doctors Helped Drive the Addiction Crisis," he blames doctors for creating the soaring narcotic addiction problem in...

imagesWe tend to think of over the counter (OTC) drugs for pain relief as interchangeable but this can be a dangerous misconception. Depending on the type of injury or pain and the condition of the person involved, taking the wrong one can be ineffective at best and downright harmful at the worst.

In a Wall Street Journal review of the two most popular OTC pain relievers ibuprofen and acetaminophen Sumathi Reddy points out the differences between them, and the most effective use for each.

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)...

infants medicine dropperAn article in Forbes.com by an ACSH advisor, Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician on staff at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, called our attention to a recently-released policy statement issued by the AAP. The pediatrics academy took official notice of the fact that too many people caring for infants and children were following label directions calling for some...

Josh Bloom in Medical Progress Today, August 6, 2013

As if the FDA doesn't have enough to do.

Yes, they sure do, but this didn't stop them from issuing a warning last week.

But, if you believe the FDA, I'd better learn to live with that headache, because if I happen to take anything to relieve it I could end up taking an unplanned dirt nap. At least that's their message. Which will no doubt scare the hell out of many people, and for absolutely no reason...[Read more].

153703240Doesn t the FDA have better things to do?

Today we saw the mother of all scares, courtesy of Sharon Hertz, deputy director of the FDA s Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia and Addiction.

For reasons that are entirely unclear, the FDA decided that acetaminophen (Tylenol) must now carry an additional warning that the drug can cause Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a very serious (and potentially fatal) condition where epidermal cells die, causing the skin to slough off the body. SJS is an acute...