Oct
01
2008

Go Easy On Tempra And Tylenol In Young Kids

With cold and flu season around the corner, the medicine shelf will fill up with remedies that provide symptomatic relief for those who caught a bug. Children who have an elevated temperature will very likely receive over the counter medication such as Tempra drops or Tylenol for children. These preparations have been around for decades, and parents are usually confident that they are harmless.
A Lancet article points out that there are certain risks associated with them, and the most sensitive age group are the youngest children. A study documented that the mother’s use of paracetamol (identical to acetaminophen or Tylenol) during pregnancy can be associated with the development of asthma in 6 to 7 year old children. More recently 205,487 children in the age group of 6 to 7 were included in a survey. The children were from 73 centers in 31 countries. In the analysis of data the use of paracetamol in the first year of life was checked against the risk of asthma symptoms once the children were 6 to seven years old. Paracetamol use in the first year of life also played a role in the increased risk of rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema.

Go Easy On Tempra And Tylenol In Young Kids

Go Easy On Tempra And Tylenol In Young Kids

With these results, parents should resort to the children’s’ Tylenol and Tempra drops only, if fairly aggressive intervention is necessary. Too often over the counter meds are used “just in case he or she is coming down with something”. Symptomatic home remedies in children such as lukewarm baths to bring down an elevated temperature, cool fluids bring relief, and ice packs still have their place in the control of mild febrile symptoms.

The Lancet 2008; 372:1039-1048

Last edited December 3, 2012

Jan
01
2007

Acetaminophen Overdosing Hazards

The FDA has expressed some concerns about the self-medicating with acetaminophen as this can led to an acetaminophen overdose. The over-the-counter medication is commonly used and especially in the winter season many sufferers of colds or influenzas will keep it handy. It is readily available, not only in pharmacies but also in supermarkets under the generic name or under brand names such as the commonly used Tylenol. It exists in dosages for adults and there are pediatric preparations like Children’s Tylenol. Acetaminophen is also a common ingredient in cold remedies. Every vial displays a clear warning that the content is enough to cause serious harm. Dosage instructions are also clearly spelled out.
More than 200 million people take Tylenol each year and 400 people die of liver failure every year, as they have accidentally taken too much.
Dr. Charles Cain from the New York Presbyterian Hospital has cautioned that overdoses can happen relatively easy. A patient is not to exceed 4 grams of acetaminophen per day. If the pain reliever is taken every 4 hours instead of the recommended interval of 6 hours, such as 2 extra-strength Tylenol at 500 mg each and some cold medication is added to that, patients may easily reach 4-6 grams of acetaminophen per day. If this practice continues for a few days, it can lead to liver damage, because the liver cannot keep up with the elimination of the drug. Other substances metabolized by the liver such as alcohol can become a serious hazard, if they are combined with acetaminophen. The effects of alcohol slow down the elimination of Tylenol by the liver.

Acetaminophen Overdosing Hazards

Acetaminophen Overdosing Hazards

It is for this reason that it is important to observe closely how much of the medication is taken in total: if a patient is already taking Tylenol for headaches, more acetaminophen (Tylenol) in the form of an over-the-counter cold medication should not be added as  would be reached.
These medications have to be used with an eye to overall daily use and the amount used over a period of time. Used with care acetaminophen remains very safe.

Reference: December 20, 2006 online issue of Time

Last edited December 5, 2012

Jul
01
2005

Acetaminophen And Pets Aggravate Asthma

People with respiratory problems should be cautious in their use of acetaminophen. These are the results of a large cross-sectional study from Great Britain. In the latest piece of mounting evidence British researchers pointed out that people who take acetaminophen regularly are at a higher risk of developing asthma. There are new indications that the drug may worsen respiratory disease and is also linked to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
The study used previously collected data from nearly 13,500 people and was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care. It demonstrated that daily users of acetaminophen are more likely to report asthma (odds ratio=1.81) and COPD (odds ratio=1.94) than patients who say that they never used acetaminophen. The study also investigated the relationship between respiratory illness and ASA as well as ibuprofen. Neither of the two seemed to be significantly related to the incidence of respiratory illness. The team of authors led by Dr. Tricia McKeever of the University of Nottingham did spirometry (lung function tests) and found that daily acetaminophen users had an impaired lung function of a 54 ml lower forced expiratory volume per second (FEV1). Ibuprofen users taking the medication between 1 and 5 times a month showed improvement of a 20 ml increase in FEV1. The benefit did not appear in non-users and those who took the medication on a daily basis.

Acetaminophen And Pets Aggravate Asthma

Acetaminophen And Pets Aggravate Asthma

The researchers strongly recommend that patients with respiratory disease should consult with a physician and consider carefully, whether or not to take acetaminophen.
Helping asthmatics to breathe easier has also been the subject of Japanese research. In a small prospective study Japanese researchers compared the need for inhaled corticosteroids between two groups of patients with allergic asthma. One group found new homes for the pets they were allergic to; the other opted to keep the animal at home. At the end of the 15-month average follow-up none of those who removed the pet were taking daily corticosteroids. Opposed to the first group, all but one of the patients who continued to live with their cat, dog, hamster or ferret were on daily corticosteroid treatment ranging from 200 mcg to 1600 mcg per day. Many asthma patients with animal allergies refuse to part with furry friends, but those who can fare better with less medication.

More info on asthma: http://nethealthbook.com/lung-disease/asthma-introduction/

Reference: The Medical Post, May 31, 2005, page 49 and 50

Last edited October 28, 2014