Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Medication that Causes More Liver Failures than All Other Medications Combined.

Did you know that in the U.S. alone last year, acetaminophen (branded Tylenol) was responsible for over 100,000 calls to poison control centers?  Tylenol is responsible for about 56,000 visits to the Emergency room annually and also receives credit for around 450 deaths each year due to liver failure.  A little know fact is that acetaminophen causes more liver failures than all other medications combined.
However, liver failure associated with the use of acetaminophen should not be new news to anyone.  However, what is probably new to most is the growing amount of evidence that indicate acetaminophen may actually have negative side-affects on our brain!

Tylenol Causes Brain Damage

A joint study conducted by the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia is the leading official neurological study looking into the mental affects of Tylenol.  Researchers explain that since pain and decision making (especially when evaluating what to do after a mistake) are both handled in the same part of the brain, acetaminophen might affect both (since we know it affects pain).  When researchers asked test subjects to choose the correct target between two choices in rapid succession, they tested the brain response in that area of the brain.  When a mistake was made, those who took acetaminophen showed less brain reaction and stimulus after making a mistake.  If the results are accurate, it could mean that cognitive control and ability is impaired when taking acetaminophen.
Expecting mothers should be acutely aware of the dangerous side-affects of all medications they take, including Tylenol.  There are currently at least 8 published medical studies (2 of them in JAMA pediatrics, 2014 and 2016) warning about the risks of using Tylenol during pregnancy.  All study’s indicate long term neurological damage to infants who’s mother took acetaminophen during pregnancy.  Also, be aware that the leading manufacturer of acetaminophen (Tylenol) in the U.S. acknowledges that not one of the tests conducted to evaluate the safety of Tylenol in infants tested at brain function.
Of course further tests and evaluations need to be conducted to better understand the potential impacts of acetaminophen on brain activity.  However, given it’s well established history of causing liver damage, we should all be extra cautious about using this product for pain as it may be damaging a lot more than your liver!


  1. I have understood that if you drink alcohol and take any form of tylenol, it will raise your liver enzymes and will eventually kill you with liver failure. However, I have been careful and do not take that drug unless I have surgery and they give me a drug with tylenol, I do not touch alcohol at all in any form and I take liver supportive herbs to help it. I get off the drug as soon as possible and the liver so far has been OK. It is better if one can do it, to not take any of those drugs anyway. Aspirin does not raise my liver enzymes if I just take two for arthritis. It causes tinnitus but does not so far raise any liver enzymes and I chew them with juice and eat about a half hour after and that protects my stomach from ulcers, etc. I have also noticed that some people commit suicide on the installment plan by taking pain killers and also drinking several drinks of beer or wine, etc a day and they end up dead within a year or so. It is a painful death and really a stupid thing to do but I have seen it happen to friends.

  2. I'm with Martha - I never take Tylenol (or ibuprofen) unless it's prescribed by my doctor or hospital. They have to administer it to me usually. I'll take aspirin or maybe ibuprofen if I have to.

    Good luck to anyone avoiding Tylenol if you have a cold. Cold medicines all have Tylenol in them - at least those gracing the shelves at the pharmacies and grocery stores do. My allergist has given me stuff to take for my allergies that I can use when I have a cold. That with aspirin (and lots of chicken soup) are all I can take.