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What to take with tylenol to prevent liver damage.

If you take too much Tylenol, Vicodin, Darvocet, or other drugs containing acetaminophen, you can end up with liver toxicity and poisoning. In fact, no other drug overdose results in more calls to poison control centers. Acetaminophin is the most common cause of liver failure, often requiring liver transplants.

This common painkiller causes 200 cases of poisoning a day. And Poison Control centers in this country report 70-100 deaths each year from acetaminophen alone. The toxicity caused by this single drug is completely unnecessary, since the antidote to acetaminophen poisoning is a sulfur compound you can find in any health food store called NAC (N-acetyl cysteine).

James P. Andrus, of the Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, suggests that 200 mg of N-acetyl cysteine be added to each 500 mg dose of acetaminophen to prevent liver toxicity. How much of this painkiller is safe to take?

That's hard to say. The maximum amount an adult should ever take is eight 500 mg tablets a day. But kidney failure, another side effect from this drug, is increased 200 percent if you've taken 1,000 acetaminophen tablets any time during your life. I suggest that if you use painkillers, you run out to the health food store today and buy a bottle of NAC. Take 200 mg with every painkiller you take from now on.

American Journal Health System Pharmacy, vol. 56, June 1999.

Sardi, Bill. "Common OTC antioxidant could prevent liver toxicity, death from use of acetaminophen pain pills," Knowledge of Health, October 2001.
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Author:Fuchs, Nan Kathryn
Publication:Women's Health Letter
Date:Jul 1, 2008
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