Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and other manufacturers are arguing that cough and cold drugs with the pain reliever acetaminophen should stay on the market, in spite of concerns from U.S. regulators.
The FDA is weighing a ban on combination products, which are often marketed to consumers with colds or other mild illnesses. The industry instead urged a widespread effort to warn buyers about the risks of liver damage linked to acetaminophen.
Too much acetaminophen has been known to cause liver injury for decades, but FDA officials are worried that the rise of products that combine it with other medications will lead consumers unknowingly to overdose by taking too much of a medication, or by taking too many different products at once.
The FDA advisory panel that met about the effects of excessive doses of acetaminophen also made another recommendation to the FDA– to take popular painkillers Vicodin and Percocet (and their generic versions) off the market because of the effect both drugs can have on the liver when taken for extended periods.
The FDA will most likely follow this recommendation.
Vicodin is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen; Percocet is oxycodone and acetaminophen. While oxycodone is available without the acetaminophen (as OxyContin) hydrocodone is not available alone in the United States.
Reuters June 29, 2009
The Consumerist July 1, 2009
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