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Tylenol / Acetaminophen

Tylenol is one of the most popular painkillers in the world, yet it has been linked to a number of serious Tylenol side effects. Attorneys are investigating Tylenol overdose and Tylenol liver damage claims stemming from acetaminophen toxicity, and are subsequently filing Tylenol lawsuits.


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Tylenol Side Effects

TylenolTylenol overdose is not uncommon. Given the popularity of Tylenol (generic name acetaminophen) —more than 8 billion pills taken every year--and the number of times Johnson and Johnson has recalled Tylenol leading to concerns about individuals taking too much acetaminophen, Tylenol overdose or Tylenol liver damage is not uncommon.

As well, consumers tend to think that over-the-counter medications (OTC) such as Tylenol--particularly Children's Tylenol products--are safe. They may ignore label warnings and take too large of a dosage or take dosages too often. Or they may take multiple medications with acetaminophen as the active ingredient, which can cause acetaminophen toxicity, leading to serious Tylenol side effects, namely Tylenol liver damage. 

Tylenol Liver Damage

The Mayo Clinic lists acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) as one of the major causes of acute liver failure—and the most common cause of liver failure in the US. Within days of taking a very large dose of Tylenol, acute liver failure can develop.

Tylenol overdose may overwhelm the liver's defenses and cause liver damage or even liver failure. Liver failure can be fatal; the only known cure for acute liver failure is a liver transplant. 

It is estimated that acetaminophen poisoning calls exceed 100,000 per year. Studies indicate that acetaminophen overdose results in over 56,000 injuries, 2,500 hospitalizations, and an estimated 450 deaths per year. (For more information on Acetaminophen poisoning visit eMedicineHealth.)

Tylenol Timeline

1951: The FDA approves acetaminophen

1955: Robert McNeil Jr. markets Tylenol for children to treat fever and relieve pain

1960: McNeil Laboratories introduces prescription Tylenol Elixir as an aspirin- free analgesic for children

1997: McNeil Consumer Products Company adds new labeling to its infant Tylenol, warning that the contents are concentrated acetaminophen and that taking more than the recommended dose could cause serious health risks. 

2008: J&J allegedly hires contractors to secretly recall a Tylenol product in order to remove it from store shelves. (lawsuit below)

September 2009: Children's and Infant's Tylenol recall--possibly contaminated with bacteria

June 2009:
  • A "black box" warning is recommended for prescription medications—such as Tylenol 3 with codeine-- that combine acetaminophen with another drug. An FDA working group studying over-the-counter acetaminophen (including Tylenol) indicates more stringent warnings about Tylenol liver damage risks are necessary because high doses of acetaminophen can cause serious injuries and other Tylenol side effects. In addition, the use of alcohol together with Tylenol or other acetaminophen drugs could increase the risk of liver failure. 

  • The manufacturer's recommended dosages states that adults should take no more than a total of 4,000 mg of acetaminophen (that means eight 500mg extra strength tablets) a day.

  • The FDA working group recommends that an adult daily dose limit on Tylenol should be decreased to 3250 mg per day, and that pills be capped at 325 mg each. If the FDA's recommendations are adopted, Tylenol and other acetaminophen-based medications would include warnings that taking more than recommended amounts can cause liver damage, that the products should not be combined with other medications that include acetaminophen and acetaminophen as the active ingredient is highlighted
September 2009: McNeil Consumer Healthcare (Johnson & Johnson) voluntary recalls Children and Infant Liquid Tylenol Products that were manufactured between April of 2008 and June of 2008. The products may potentially be contaminated with harmful bacteria. (J&J later announces that B. cepacia bacteria is discovered in some of the unused raw material for these products.)

November 2009: Tylenol Arthritis Pain Caplets recalled—unusual odor and taste

December 2009: Second Tylenol Arthritis Pain Caplet recall

January 2010: Various Tylenol, Motrin and other products recall—musty odor

March 2010: Children's Tylenol recall—labeling problem

April 2010: Children's and Infant's Tylenol products recall—quality issues

June 2010: Extra Strength Tylenol and Benadryl recall—musty odor

July 2010: Children's Tylenol, Tylenol Extra Strength, Tylenol PM, Benadryl, Motrin recall—contamination

October 2010: Tylenol 8-hour Caplets, 50-count bottles recall—musty odor

November 2010: Tylenol Cold Multi-Symptom Liquid recall—labeling errors

January 2011:
  • Tylenol 8 Hour, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, and Tylenol treatments for upper respiratory conditions recall—equipment cleaning problems

  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announces it is taking steps to cut the risk of Tylenol liver damage and other effects of acetaminophen toxicity. Specifically, the FDA requests all makers of prescription products that contain acetaminophen to limit the amount of acetaminophen to 325 milligrams per capsule or tablet. Drug companies have until January 14, 2014 to reduce the amount of acetaminophen in their products to 325 mg per capsule or tablet. 

  • The FDA requests a Boxed Warning on all prescription acetaminophen products highlighting the risk for severe liver injury and requests a warning on acetaminophen-containing products highlighting the risk of allergic reaction. 

  • The FDA continues to receive reports of severe liver injury associated with products that contain acetaminophen.
March 2011:
  • Tylenol 8-Hour Extended Release caplets recall—musty odor

  • The FDA and the Justice Department reach a consent agreement whereby the government controls three Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol factories and a criminal investigation is underway regarding safety concerns at the plants.

  • Two J&J executives are charged with failing to comply with federally mandated manufacturing practice
May 2011:
  • OTC drug makers announce they will no longer produce acetaminophen in concentrated infant drops; the Consumer Healthcare Products Association says the move is intended to reduce dosage errors.

  • The FDA issues final guidance to firms that manufacture, market, or distribute any OTC liquid drug products packaged with cups, droppers, syringes, and spoons to measure and dispense doses of the medications.
June 2011: Extra-Strength Tylenol recall—odor problem linked to chemical that causes GI problems

January 2012:
  • Lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson over its secret recallof Children’s Tylenol after death of toddler due to liver failure.

  • The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform ongoing investigation of J&J’s actions regarding the removal of its product from stores.
February 2012: Grape-flavored Infants' Tylenol recall—dosing problems

People at Tylenol Risk

People consuming three or more servings of alcohol per day should take even less than the FDA's proposed recommended dosage: more than two servings of alcohol per day can increase the risk of liver failure from acetaminophen. People who take Tylenol in high doses, or simply use it regularly are also at risk. 

People with decreased liver function, kidney disease, hepatitis, malnutrition, AIDS, chronic ethanol abuse, or anorexia nervosa may be at increased risk for liver failure and death when using Tylenol. For diabetics, acetaminophen may also affect the results of blood glucose (sugar) tests. 

Children's Tylenol

Small doses of Tylenol's active ingredient, acetaminophen, have been associated with liver damage and even deaths in children in the US. Acetaminophen dosage errors led to 14 deaths and 74 injuries from 2000 to 2010 in children under the age of 13, according to the FDA.

While Tylenol has been on the market for 50 years, many professionals feel that the proper dosage of acetaminophen for children is still unknown and more testing and education is necessary to prevent liver damage and accidental deaths. Many people are confused by packaging directions for Children's Tylenol as they are given by age and weight. And other medications such as cold and sinus medications, which contain acetaminophen, can add to the risk of Tylenol overdose. 

McNeil's Children's and Infants;Tylenol Melt aways and Soft Chews have been associated with acetaminophen overdose problems. Labeling is confusing: The design of the Melt away and Soft Chew packages include some blister voids that contain one tablet while some others contain two per void. Consumers may believe that two tablets provide a total of only 80mg when two tablets are really a total of 160mg which, when consumed by a child, can lead to Tylenol over-dosing. 

In September 2009 McNeil Consumer Healthcare recalled the following products after a certain type of bacteria was discovered:
  • Children's Tylenol Cold MS Suspension 4 oz. Grape
  • Children's Tylenol Plus Cough & Runny Nose 4 oz. Cherry
  • Infant's Tylenol Suspension Drop 1 oz. Grape
If your child has developed a serious medical injury from taking one of these defective Tylenol products, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your damages. 

Tylenol Asthma

Asthma is the leading cause of chronic illness in children. It affects about 10 to 12 percent of children in the US and it is steadily increasing. Asthma can begin at any age (even in the very elderly), but most children have their first symptoms by age 5. 

The exact reasons why more and more children are developing asthma are still unknown. Some experts suggest that children spend too much time indoors and are exposed to more dust, air pollution, and secondhand smoke. Some suspect that children are not exposed to enough childhood illnesses to direct the attention of their immune system to bacteria and viruses. Now, research indicates that Tylenol may be linked with an increased risk of asthma in children and adults. 

Researchers found that acetaminophen users were 63 percent more likely to have asthma than nonusers. They also found the following:
  • The risk of asthma in children given acetaminophen in the year before their asthma diagnosis was increased by 60 percent.
  • The risk of asthma in children who used acetaminophen in the first year of life was 47 percent higher than in those who didn't use it.
  • The risk of asthma in adults who used acetaminophen was 74 percent higher than in those who did not.
  • Prenatal use of acetaminophen boosted the risk of wheezing by 50 percent and the risk of asthma by 28 percent in children.
  • The researchers concede that children with severe asthma may be more likely to get acetaminophen for viral or other infections that may actually be due to asthma or may precede an asthma diagnosis. They also stated that acetaminophen use and asthma is an association, but not necessarily a cause and effect and more studies are needed to fully understand the association.

Register your Tylenol Complaint

If you or a loved one has suffered from liver failure or overdose from using Tylenol or other drugs containing acetaminophen, you may qualify for damages or remedies that may be awarded in a possible class action lawsuit. Please click the link below to submit your complaint and we will have a lawyer review your Tylenol complaint.
Last updated on Jun-17-14


Tylenol Lawsuits Go Beyond the Actual Medication
Tylenol Lawsuits Go Beyond the Actual Medication Newark, NJ Tylenol patients who sue Tylenol manufacturer McNeil Consumer Healthcare and its parent, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), for adverse reactions such as alleged liver damage aren't the only litigants launching a Tylenol lawsuit: investors also have their legal beefs with J&J with regard to the company's corporate oversight of good manufacturing practices (GMP) and marketing efforts [READ MORE]

Woman in Tylenol Coma for Six Weeks
Woman in Tylenol Coma for Six Weeks St. Louis, MO A few years ago Shari took the recommended dosage of Tylenol for a bad headache: six “rapid release” tabs over a period of 24 hours. “By 10pm I felt like I was going to pass out so I called 911,” Shari says. She was taken to the local hospital and can’t remember anything, until she woke up in the St. Louis University hospital. Her diagnosis was Tylenol liver damage. Shari was close to death [READ MORE]

Tylenol and Acetaminophen Toxicity a Growing Problem
Tylenol and Acetaminophen Toxicity a Growing Problem Toronto, ON The trouble with heritage medications is, like comfort food or a favorite sweater, they can lull you into a false sense of comfort and security. And who would have thought that when acetaminophen was first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) way back in 1951, we would one day be talking about Tylenol liver damage and other adverse reactions related to the popular over-the-counter (OTC) medication [READ MORE]


Posted by
My Identical Twin of 40 years passed away from Tylenol poisoning. I haven't been the same since. I'm glad to finally see action taken on this deadly stuff-acetaminophen. Most don't know that this chemical is also found in antifreeze.

Lynn, Twin to Doris

Posted by
I took Tylenol for years a few a day and over a period of time I went into a delirious state of mind and passed out if it wasn't for my husband I would be dead. My husband found me unconscious. I was in a coma for a month in an half my lifer spout down and my kidney. I have acute liver failure and Tylenol toxicity. Please stop prescribing Tylenol.

Posted by
Had extreme back pain before and after surgery. Took 2-4 Tylenol extra strength every day for 20 years. Also mixed it with 4-6 alcoholic drinks per day. Liver cirrhosis was diagnosed in 2005 and eventually had a liver transplant to save my life in 2006. On immune-suppressant drugs since and developed lymphoma in April of 2013 and am undergoing chemotherapy since then which for now has put the cancer in remission. Cancer was no doubt caused by anti-rejection drugs necessary to prevent liver failure.

Posted by
I was rushed to the hospital on December 23, 2011 after passing out in the mall. they kept me at the hospital from dec 23 til dec 28th and concluded I had liver damage. I had severe Abdominal pain, sweating, loss Consciousness, nausea.

Posted by
I have been bloated to an excess of about 20 lbs, very tired, weak, very delirious non-existing and irregular menstrual cycles and had to live in the hospital before i was transplanted.

Posted by
Declared terminally ill because of liver failure due to alcohol/tylenol use. Doctors continued its use even after its known side effects.

Posted by
British Columbia
I collapsed in a coma with liver failure, and received an emergency liver transplant. I lost the sight in one eye as a result of brain swelling during the coma, and have mild brain damage, with the result that I can not work, drive, or read sustained text.

Posted by
After years of internal bleeding, I was diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic with Liver Disease last December, 2010. They said I had it for years, yet constant doctor's appointments and bloodwork never detected this. I am 64 and work full time, but this disease is difficult to deal with and I am absent a lot (unpaid).

Posted by
I have had 3 biopsies confirming liver diease, I am pending my last test of end stage liver disease. I use to take Tylenol frequently. I dont have the typical symptoms of a person with NASH/NAFLD, I dont have diabetes, high cholestrol, etc. I really think Tylenol did this to me.

Posted by
My kidneys and liver shut down, the next morning I was rushed to the hospital. The Drs didnt know what was wrong, only that my system shut down. I had to convince them that the only meds I took was the Acetaminophen the Dentist prescribed.

Posted by
New Jersey
Acute liver failure, renal shutdown, brain swelleing from water retention. I was given a 5% chance to live at first, and found out after from the doctors that caffeine magnifies the effect acetaminophen risks for liver damage

Posted by
I have always been in good health. In 2005 I tried to buy additional life insurance through work which prompted an extensive medical exam. The only indication that something was wrong was when I was denied the additional life insurance. Subsequent tests showed a negative progression eventually leading to being told to stop using Tylenol completely.


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