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Health Canada Issues Acetaminophen Advisory

Yesterday Health Canada announced it “is taking additional steps to minimize the risk of liver damage and improve acetaminophen safety,” citing the findings of a government review that underscored the possibility of accidental overdose.

Of the 4 billion doses of acetaminophen sold in Canada each year, there were 4000 hospitalizations for acetaminophen overdose - 20% of these were using doses in excess of 4000 mg per day. A Statistics Canada database recorded 253 accidental deaths and nearly 300 suicides between 2000 and 2009 where acetaminophen was a major or contributing cause of death.

Acetaminophen By the Numbers

4 billion — Number of doses of acetaminophen sold in Canada each year

475 — The number of different acetaminophen products currently authorized for marketing in Canada

4 — Number of grams of acetaminophen in the recommendation maximum daily dose

10 — Number of grams of acetaminophen per day that can lead to liver damage

4,000 — Number of hospitalizations in Canada each year for acetaminophen overdose

20 — Percentage of hospitalizations for acetaminophen overdose due to people exceeding the recommended dose unintentionally

250 — Number of cases of serious liver injury per year in Canada related to acetaminophen

50 — Percentage of cases of serious liver injury associated with unintentional overdoses


The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

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