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Campaign urges consumers to 'double check' acetaminophen use
September 13th, 2013
WASHINGTON – With the cold and flu season on the way, the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition is urging consumers to be aware of their acetaminophen use when treating winter illnesses.
Including key pharmacy industry organizations, the coalition on Thursday launched a campaign called "Double Check, Don't Double Up" to promote medication safety as Americans start getting their flu shots and stocking their home medicine cabinets.
The core message of the campaign is that acetaminophen is the nation's most common drug ingredient, and consumers may inadvertently take unsafe dosages of the pain reliever, or even overdose on it, through the use of multiple medications.
Acetaminophen is found in more than 600 medicines, including prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers, fever reducers, sleep aids and numerous medicines for cough, cold and flu. The coalition noted that while it's safe and effective when used as directed, there's a limit to how much can be taken in one day and taking more than directed can lead to liver damage.
The campaign provides four safety steps when treating cold, cough or flu symptoms: always read and follow the medicine label; know if medicines contain acetaminophen, which is in bold type or highlighted in the "active ingredients" section of the Drug Facts Label on OTC medicines (and sometimes listed as "APAP" or "acetam" on prescription labels); never take two medicines that contain acetaminophen at the same time; and ask a pharmacist or other health care provider if you have questions about dosing or medicines that contain acetaminophen.
A group of leading health, health care provider and consumer organizations, members of the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition (AAC) include the American Pharmacists Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation, National Community Pharmacists Association, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, CHPA Educational Foundation, Alliance for Aging Research, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Academy of Physicians Assistants, National Consumers League and National Council on Patient Information and Education. AAC also supports the Know Your Dose campaign to educate consumers about safe acetaminophen use to prevent liver damage.