Wednesday Walkthrough . . . your medicine cabinet

In my (too) early morning stupor, this news story flashed across my TV screen: FDA Panel Urges Cuts in Acetaminophen Dosage. Recent research has linked high levels of acetaminophen (most commonly taken in the form of Tylenol) to acute liver failure. Despite the FDA's findings, they are not required to follow their own advice: "The FDA usually follows the panel's advice. A final decision by FDA is likely months away" (emphasis mine). It should be noted that the FDA found that people who take high dosages of acetaminophen or who mix it with something dangerous like alcohol are most likely to be affected.

While the mysteries of Michael Jackson's cause of death are still weighing heavily on many people's minds, the timing of this story is, well, interesting, to say the least. So, today let's take a stroll through your medicine cabinet, and perhaps, more importantly, your trained way of thinking. 

If you've been taught all your life to pop a painkiller when you get a fever and drink some cold medicine when you're feeling under the weather, take a moment and reconsider that advice. The human body is designed to self-heal, and something as seemingly inconvenient as a fever is not always something to fight. When you're body has a fever, it is because it was designed to heat up to kill bad bacteria. Of course, all of this needs to be considered in moderation. 

There are two main factors at work here:
1. The miraculous design of the body to self-heal 
2. Simple common sense

If your common sense is telling you that you're dealing with something serious, go see a doctor. But if you're dealing with something minor, think twice before popping a painkiller as a quick fix. Do your research and find out how much acetaminophen is in your OTC meds and choose carefully.


Anonymous said...

Yes, but the drugs they are thinking of banning are not taken for things people can "self-heal" from. Those of us dealing with chronic pain from serious injuries have few options, and while the people suffering from a temporary fever wil be faced with changed dosage, they're recommending taking away one of the only options we have.

Joy said...

I certainly don't mean to presume I know anything about people dealing with chronic pain. As I mentioned, I'm all about seeing a doctor, especially when it's something out of the norm. My thoughts were meant to target people who pop painkillers or load up on cold medicine without realizing what they're putting in their body because they've been told for so long that it's all safe.