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Americans Are Uneducated about Tylenol Risks

Update Date: Sep 24, 2013 02:03 PM EDT
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One of the most popular over the counter painkiller brand is Tylenol. Americans use it everyday to treat anything from the common cold to backaches. Even though this drug brand is arguably a family favorite, a new survey conducted by the independent, non-profit newsroom, ProPublica found that Americans are underestimating the dangers involved with taking Tylenol. This newsroom that aims to perform investigative journalism in the public interests suggests that people need to be better educated about the risks associated with Tylenol.

In this poll, which was conducted by the Princeton Survey Research Associates International commissioned by ProPublica and This American Life, the researchers interviewed 1,003 adults via telephone. The telephone poll was conducted back in February and March, but the results were just recently analyzed. The researchers found that 80 percent of the adults stated that they knew overdosing on the drug would result in serious side effects. 68 percent stated that too much Tylenol leads to liver damage. 55 percent believed that an overdose could cause death. Despite these percentages that show that people do know the risks surrounding Tylenol, the researchers found that more education about Tylenol risks could potentially save lives. 

35 percent of the people interviewed believed that Tylenol was safe enough to mix with other medications that have acetaminophen, which is the main active ingredient in Tylenol. When people mix medications with acetaminophen, it could also lead to an overdose. The researchers also found that 51 percent of the adults did not know about the safety warnings associated with Tylenol. When the researchers asked the participants about other symptoms tied to an overdose, 48 percent incorrectly responded saying that an overdose leads to heart palpitations. The researchers believe that if these participants do not know the symptoms involved with an overdose, they might not know the actual risks.

A recent investigation also by ProPublica estimated that 150 people die each year due to accidental overdose of acetaminophen. These new findings suggest that more needs to be done to protect people from Tylenol risks and educate them about these issues.

The results from the poll can be accessed here

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