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Study: Misuse of acetaminophen combo products in decline

A recent study published in the journal Clinical Toxicology found a decline in the incidence of therapeutic misuse of OTC combination products with acetaminophen during the 10 years between 2007 and 2016. The new study follows a 2016 Food and Drug Administration study in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.

The study, funded by the Consumer Health Products Association, used data from the National Poison Data System to identify when consumers exceeded the maximum dose of an ingredient while using it for its intended purpose for products containing acetaminophen. Overall, the number of therapeutic misuse involving OTC combination products with acetaminophen dropped from 8,753 in 2007 to 6,278 in 2016 — a decline of 28%.

“When used as labeled and directed, acetaminophen is safe and effective,” said Barbara Kochanowski, senior vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs at CHPA. “This research provides reassuring evidence that incidents of misuse are rare and continue decreasing. But consumer education is key to continuing this downward trend.”

The study’s authors noted that continued consumer education is necessary to highlight the safe use of acetaminophen. The CHPA Educational Foundation helps lead the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition, which launched the “Know Your Dose” campaign, that looks to educate consumers about safe use of the medication to prevent accidental overdoses, in 2011.

“We remain committed to efforts aimed at reducing these incidents,” Kochanowski said. “In addition to our consumer education campaign, the OTC industry, in collaboration with FDA, provides clear packaging, labeling, dosing, directions, appropriate warnings and education to help physicians and consumers who rely on these medicines.”
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