New research reveals that when it comes to treating pain, a growing number of consumers know how to safely use medicines with acetaminophen and to avoid accidental overdose and liver damage. A nationwide consumer survey conducted by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation, in conjunction with its work on the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition’s Know Your Dose educational campaign, shows that consumer safe use knowledge and risk awareness has increased over a three year period (2010-2013).

Acetaminophen, the most common drug ingredient in America, is found in more than 600 prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, fever reducers, and sleep aids as well as cough, cold and allergy medicines. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends taking no more than 4,000 mg of acetaminophen in a 24-hour period. Taking more than directed is an overdose and can lead to liver damage. Findings from the national survey of 1,000 consumers who have taken a pain reliever in the past 6-12 months show enhanced consumer knowledge and awareness of key medicine safety issues:

    • Label reading: More consumers agree that it is “important to check the label to find out the maximum daily dose” of medicines (increased to 98 percent in 2013 from 93 percent in 2010).
    • Following dosing instructions: More consumers agree it is “important not to exceed the dosing directions on the label” of pain relievers (increased to 96 percent in 2013 from 90 percent in 2010).
    • Awareness of risk: More consumers understand that “exceeding the recommended daily dose of acetaminophen may lead to liver damage” (increased to 87 percent in 2013 from 78 percent in 2010).
    • Avoidance of “doubling up:” Knowledge that “acetaminophen can be found in many over-the-counter and prescription pain medicines” increased to 87 percent from 80 percent in 2010, and understanding that “it is possible to exceed the maximum daily dose when taking an OTC acetaminophen product at the same time as a prescription pain medicine” increased to 81 percent from 76 percent in 2010.

The Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition (AAC) and its Know Your Dose campaign, which educates consumers to (1) always read and follow the medicine label, (2) know if their medicines contain acetaminophen,  (3) never take two medicines that contain acetaminophen at the same time and (4) ask a healthcare provider if you have questions. The Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition (AAC) is a diverse group of leading health, healthcare provider and consumer organizations–including the NACDS Foundation–that represents healthcare providers and consumers and seeks to educate consumers about safe acetaminophen use.