Who will be affected if Health Canada lowers the maximum dosage of acetaminophen?
When you consume acetaminophen, do you often take the recommended dosage? Originally reported by CBC News, you may be in for a surprise—Health Canada is currently in the process of lowering the maximum recommended daily dose for the pain medicine. But if this ruling actually gets approved and goes through, who will suffer: The person taking the pills or the manufacturer?
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Interestingly enough, acetaminophen is an ingredient that can be found in more 470 products. These products are quite popular and include both non-prescription and prescription products. However, according to Health Canada, there are more than 4,000 hospitalizations a year throughout the country due to acetaminophen overdoses.
“We were seeing an increase in one area,” said Dr. Supriya Sharma, senior medical adviser with Health Canada’s health products and food branch in Ottawa. “It wasn’t a huge increase, but it was remarkable. We were seeing an increase in unintended overdoses. That was part of the impetus to move forward with the recommendations.”
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The most important rule of thumb when taking products with acetaminophen is to use the drug as directed. But do all consumers follow this rule? Undeniably, the answer is “no,” as acetaminophen is the leading cause of all serious liver injuries, including liver failure.
Regarding the issue, Health Canada is staying proactive. For example, the company will be holding a technical discussion with consumers and industry leaders to encourage the decrease of the maximum recommended daily dosage, as well as require all children’s products to be supplied with a dosing device (i.e. a measuring cup), to avoid dosing errors from taking place.
Acetaminophen is widely used, but people metabolize the drug differently. What does this mean exactly? Even if a person is taking a dosage lower than the recommended daily maxim, he or she could still be doing harm to their body. Everyone is different and body types will not react the same to the drug.
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While the jury is still out on this ruling, we can speculate who will suffer if it does happen to go through. For example, will the manufacturers behind acetaminophen suffer if people are required to take less of the drug (i.e. there won’t be a necessity to produce as many drugs).
It’s possible that a small hit could take place, but it isn’t likely. As mentioned above, acetaminophen can be found in more than 470 products. Therefore, there’s an obvious need for this ingredient. Even if the daily dosage is lowered, it’s still not banned—people will still want the medicine.
Will those who actively consume acetaminophen actually read the label and follow it? And if they do, but have a tolerance for the drug, will the lower dosage of the medicine still be helpful?
These are all questions that can only be answered in time. However, in the interim, it’s comforting to know that Health Canada’s mindset is in the right place—they’re clearing trying to keep people safe and healthy.
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[SOURCE: CBC News]