Acetaminophen (Tylenol® or Paracetamol) is the most commonly used painkiller and fever reducing medicine and is easily available over-the-counter. Many people use this drug as if it were candy, without being aware of its likelihood for causing serious, sometimes deadly, consequences when taken in excess. Moreover, acetaminophen is present in small doses in nearly 600 other over-the-counter products in small doses, such as cough and cold drugs, sleep medicines, and in prescription painkillers. Easy access and an abundant presence makes acetaminophen the most common culprit for accidental and potentially life-threatening overdose. Although Acetaminophen is safer than ibuprofen (Motrin®) and aspirin, it has a very narrow safety margin and even a small dosage error can cause serious damage to the liver. Accidental acetaminophen poisoning is the cause of 78,000 emergency room visits per year and is the most common cause of liver failure requiring liver transplants in the United States.
Contrary to common belief, arthritis or joint pain is not limited to the elderly alone. More than two-thirds of the arthritis patients in the US are under the age of 65 and some are children. Currently 57 million adult Americans suffer from arthritis and the number is projected to increase to 67 million by 2030. Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 10% of men and 18% of women have symptomatic osteoarthritis.