Attention: test the sidewide alert

Providers Asked to Advise Patients of Safe Use Steps for Acetaminophen Medications as Part of Know Your Dose Campaign

May 9, 2012

Topics: Practitioner Prescriber, Prescriptions

With a world of conditions and hundreds of medicines, the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition asks pharmacists and other health care providers to educate patients and caregivers about the proper use of medications containing acetaminophen. As the most common drug ingredient in America, acetaminophen can be found in over 600 medicines, including many prescription and over-the-counter medicines. The coalition notes that when used as directed, acetaminophen is safe and effective. The coalition asks providers to advise patients that there is a daily dosage limit for acetaminophen and that taking more than directed is an overdose and can lead to liver damage.

This spring, the coalition calls on health care providers to participate in the Know Your Dose campaign, by reminding all patients and caregivers to (1) always read and follow the labels on their medicines; (2) know if a medicine contains acetaminophen; and (3) never take or administer two medicines that contain acetaminophen at the same time. The Know Your Dose campaign offers a short list of helpful health tips to share with patients, including the following:

  • Always read and follow the label on all medications. Whether you are taking the medication yourself or giving it to someone else, make sure you read and follow the instructions on the label.
  • Know if your medication contains acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is in more than 600 prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines. Never take two medicines that contain acetaminophen at the same time or take more than is directed.
  • Look for acetaminophen abbreviations on prescription labels. The ingredient name acetaminophen is not always spelled out entirely. It is sometimes listed as “APAP,” “acetam,” or other shortened versions of the word.

Additional medication safety tips and more information about the Know Your Dose campaign are available on the “OTC Medication Use” page of the AWARXE® Web site. The AWARXE consumer protection program and NABP are part of the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition.