Interesting how my local Rite-Aid has magnifying glasses on display in the “Analgesics” aisle—the one where you find acetaminophen. It’s either a brilliant marketing ploy or the result of some merchandiser’s sense of humor. Why? If you’re trying to actually read the medication ingredient lists—the ones in mice type—you can’t, so that magnifier can come in mighty handy.
Now add on the state of mind you’re typically in when you’re tooling down the drugstore aisle in search of acetaminophen. Your eyes are most likely darting across those shelves in search of a red box with maybe some white lettering on a slant (Tylenol). Maybe also a big “E” on a green box (Excedrin). If it’s a bad sinus day, let’s throw in a flash of hot pink (Benadryl). And before you know it there’s an acetaminophen party going on in your little shopping basket.
It’s a no-brainer to monitor acetaminophen doses when Nurse Betty hands you 2 Tylenol tablets in a Dixie cup during a hospital stay, right? Sure, you want more—or an I.V. drip, and it’s a prayer in you-know-what you’ll get it. But Nurse Betty isn’t with you in the Rite-Aid, is she?
And that’s where the trouble can start. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m feeling a bit like news anchor Howard Beale in the movie Network—when he’s mad as you-know-what and not going to take it anymore. Yesterday’s report on the FDA panel that voted to eliminate Vicodin and Percocet is one thing—they’re controlled substances and many times when you’re given or prescribed them you’re in no condition to care about potential risks. You just want a glass of water and pill-in-hand, thank you. So I’ve got no issue with big brother keeping a watchful eye here if risks are outweighing benefits.
But, when the FDA panel starts going off on OTC acetaminophen to the extent where it is recommending dosage limits (i.e., reducing the amount of active ingredient per pill) and suggesting that the current OTC dose—1,000 mg (2 pills at 500 mg each)—be available only by prescription, it’s time to raise an eyebrow.
Here’s the thing. As msnbc.com reported the FDA panel vote yesterday it said, “The FDA convened the two-day meeting to ask experts to discuss and vote on a slew of proposals to reduce overdoses with acetaminophen.”
Keyword: OVERDOSES. Read the rest of this entry »
On June 27, 2009, the Drug Enforcement Agency issued a press release to members of the media titled: “DEA Responds to Large Number of Calls regarding Michael Jackson’s Death”.
The UK’s Sun newspaper claims Jackson was taking Demerol, Dilaudid, Vicodin, Xanax, Soma, Paxil, Zoloft and Prilosec.
“Due to the large amount of calls from the media regarding the death of Michael Jackson and questions regarding prescription drugs,” the DEA said in the press release, “the DEA has put information about prescription drug abuse and use on the front page of www.dea.gov for your use.”
The headline on the agency’s website for a May 2009, report reads: “Recent Report Confirms Dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse; Young Adults Hardest Hit”
The “National Prescription Drug Threat Assessment,” was prepared by the National Drug Intelligence Center in conjunction with the DEA. Read the rest of this entry »