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Tuesday—a federal advisory panel for the Food and Drug Administration voted 20-17 to recommend a ban on Percocet and Vicodin, both of which combine a narcotic with acetaminophen. The two medications represent two of the most popular prescription painkillers in the world, but high doses of acetaminophen have been traced to liver damage. Furthermore, patients who take Percocet or Vicodin often need increasingly higher doses to achieve the same “painkilling” effect.

While the FDA is not required to follow the advice of its panel, it is likely to do so, which will affect several other combination drugs. Specifically, at least seven other prescription drugs that combine a narcotic and acetaminophen will also be banned if the FDA follows the advisory panel’s advice.

The panel originally called the meeting over concerns about the rising number of Americans that take over-the-counter drugs that contain acetaminophen. In fact, in 2005, American consumers bought 28 million doses of painkillers containing acetaminophen. Many consumers are unaware of the danger of taking more than the recommended dosage of over-the-counter painkillers, such as Tylenol, but more than 400 people die and 42,000 are hospitalized each year in the United States for complications arising from overdoses. Ultimately, the members of the panel voted 24-13 to reduce the highest dosage of over-the-counter painkillers from 500 to 325 mg, and 21-16 to reduce the maximum daily dosage to less than 4,000 mg.

4 Comments

  1. Gravatar for JB

    I agree that the dosage of acetaminophen in both OTC and prescription pain medications should be limited. However, the "blanket" removal of prescription medications containing hydrocodone would lead to a significant void in the prescribing abilities of the doctor. Prescribers would then be forced to use either less effective pain relievers, or use Schedule II drugs such as Demerol and Dilaudid or Morphine which require a written prescription each and every time they are prescribed. From a practical standpoint, this makes no sense at all.

  2. Gravatar for thepopularjock

    I think the drug companies will find something else to bind the hydrocodone to. There is too much money at stake for them to simply give up.

    As the post above indicated, If you remove the APAP from these drugs then they will probably become class 2 drugs. That means that I would have to go to the doctor every single time that I need a refill of my pain meds. That costs me money! I don't think I should have to pay just because other people can't control their drug use.

  3. Gravatar for SeanMcMillion

    Another reason why Medical Marijuana should be legalized across the nation. That way, patients won't have to worry about their medicine destroying their liver from being addicted to pain pills or go through serious Opiate withdrawals because they can't get the Vicodin or Percocet that has been prescribed to them.

  4. Gravatar for Sean McMillion

    Do you know what happens when you take Vicodin or Percocet for a while and then quit because you run out? You get physically sick with pain all sorts of other symptoms. It's like withdrawing from Heroin, and often times the patient CAN'T deal with the withdrawals and either has to go through expensive rehab or a similar drug that will produce the same results, i.e. Heroin and other opiates.

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