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WASHINGTON — A new continuing-education program offered by a national pharmacist professional organization aims to prepare pharmacists to communicate with patients about the safe and effective use of the painkiller acetaminophen.
The American Pharmacists Association said its new CE program would allow pharmacists to outline the Food and Drug Administration's recent advisory panel meetings on the drug, communicate with patients about its appropriate use, and engage consumers in dialogue and such activities as reading labels of products containing acetaminophen.
The drug, which is the active ingredient of Tylenol and is found in more than 600 prescription and over-the-counter medications, carries little risk for patients using it as directed, but also can cause serious liver injury. Many cases of overdose result from patients taking too much of the drug or taking multiple products containing it. In response, the FDA asked drug makers in January 2011 to limit the amount of acetaminophen in prescription combination pain relievers that include it and such drugs as oxycodone and codeine to no more than 325 mg per tablet or capsule to reduce overdoses and severe liver injury.