Painkillers: December 2006 Archives

Are Your Painkillers Actually Killing You?


painkillersBy DAN CHILDS, ABC News Medical Unit

Calls for stronger warning labels for certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications question the safety of products that are a fixture in the medicine cabinets of nearly every American household.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration proposed stronger warning labels for acetaminophen, widely known by the brand name Tylenol, and the common class of pain relievers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. This group includes ibuprofen and aspirin.

Considering the familiarity of these medicines, many consumers assume they are safe.

Drug Danger: Even Proper Use Can Kill

fentanyl patchA powerful painkiller is raising red flags in western Wisconsin after an increase in the number of overdoses. There have been a string of deaths from Fentanyl overdoses. Some have been intentional, some were not.

In September, Dr. Susan Momont was found dead in her Eau Claire home. Her husband has now been charged with providing the Fentanyl that caused her death.

The St. Croix County medical examiner says three people have died in his county since this spring. Last week, the Chippewa County district attorney said a man there died from an overdose, which may have been a suicide.

FDA Proposes New Pain Reliever Warnings


aspirinFederal health officials on Tuesday proposed sterner warning labels for acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen, again cautioning millions of Americans who take the nonprescription pain relievers regularly of potentially serious side effects.

The over-the-counter drugs remain safe and effective when used as directed, the Food and Drug Administration said. However, overdoses of acetaminophen can cause serious liver damage, even death, the FDA said.

For aspirin, ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, there is a risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney injury even when patients take the correct dose. The drug are linked to thousands of deaths a year. The FDA said the risk is rare when compared to the number of patients who take the drugs.