July 2, 2009
Banning the popular painkillers Percocet and Vicodin, which a U.S. health advisory panel has urged, would not be as drastic as it sounds, some medical experts contend.
The reason, they say, is that other options are available.
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel made its recommendation Tuesday. It followed the release in May of an FDA report that found that many consumers aren’t aware that severe liver damage, and even death, can result from overuse of acetaminophen, which is easier on the stomach than such painkillers as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Vicodin and Percocet combine acetaminophen with an opiate narcotic in one pill. Vicodin contains the narcotic hydrocodone, and Percocet contains oxycodone. Both drugs are prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain.
But acetaminophen is the active ingredient in such popular over-the-counter pain relievers as Tylenol and Excedrin. And consumers may also not know that acetaminophen is present in many other over-the-counter products, including remedies for colds, headaches and fevers, making it possible to exceed the recommended acetaminophen dose. More…