Recent Lawsuits Illustrate Need for Care in Use of Over-the-Counter Drugs

For many, over-the-counter drugs seem like harmless, safe medications that can be taken whenever needed without the need for a doctor’s advice. However, a recent number of lawsuits has required Johnson & Johnson, the makers of the popular over-the-counter pain reliever, Tylenol, to redesign their warning labels. These lawsuits pertained to individuals who suffered liver damage and liver failure as a result of taking Tylenol. The lawsuit cites the active ingredient, acetaminophen, as the culprit behind the liver damage.

Over-the-Counter DrugsIndividuals in the lawsuit suffered liver damage and some suffered fatalities as a result of taking too much Tylenol. This led to the requirement of the change in labels to warn consumers of the difference between safe and dangerous dosages of this seemingly harmless medication.

Some 500 Americans die each year from unintentional overdoses of popular over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol. About 85 lawsuits being lodged against Johnson & Johnson in relation to wrongful death and negative health consequences, and are bringing to light the need for consumers to use over-the-counter products like this with much greater care than is currently shown.

In addition to these fatalities, almost 50,000 cases of accidental (non-fatal) overdose is seen in hospitals and doctors offices each year. This recurring problem illustrates the need for more stringent warning labels as well as an increasing public dialog on the safe use and administration of over-the-counter medications. These medications are generally safe when used as directed, but the warning labels should be strictly adhered to and read very carefully before use.