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Y’all know this shit is dangerous, right?

I don’t indulge in many conspiracy theories, but I’m sure there’s something weird behind the dramatic shift from aspirin to Tylenol that happened…when was it? The Eighties? I know aspirin has some issues — stomach bleeding mostly, Reye’s syndrome is extremely rare — but it’s cheap and it works and it has awesome side benefits.

Tylenol (acetaminophen in the US, paracetamol in the UK) doesn’t work (honestly, it doesn’t do jack for me) and is extremely dangerous in overdose, causing acute and sometimes fatal liver failure. Worse, overdose can be as little as twice the normal dose, particularly if you’re washing it down with alcohol (which soaks up liver enzymes you need to deal with the OD). Worse, it’s really easy to get an overdose, especially if you have a cold, because they put it in everything from Nyquil to cough medicine.

I don’t mean to be patronizing. I’m sure you know this. You may not share my hate-on with the stuff, but I trust you know to be careful. Only, an acquaintance of ours is currently dealing with acute liver failure that was very likely caused by doubling up her paracetamol to deal with aches and pains. She didn’t know.

Coincidentally, did you see this? It’s all over the web today: dumbass British kids on Twitter daring each other to OD on paracetamol. It’s got the breathlessness and lack of detail characteristic of social media moral panics. In other words, I’m hoping it’s complete bullshit.

But damn — how did this stuff become the ‘safe’ over the counter painkiller?

May 27, 2015 — 10:06 pm
Comments: 30