The inadequate functioning of the liver is known as acute liver failure. It can last more than a few days or weeks, and it is common for people with not previous liver diseases.

The acute liver failure may lead to more serious health complications, such as: increase brain pressure or excessive bleeding. What is the main cause of this? The main reason for acute liver failure is the overdose of a drug, which we have it home.


A great number of drugs, like Excedrin, Tylenol, Theraflu, and Nyquil contain acetaminophen. It is considered that acetaminophen, which is present in many painkillers and cold medicines, is the main reason for over 56.000 visitors in the emergency, 2.600 hospitalized and 460 dead per year.

The consumption of acetaminophen in the long-term can be very harmful for the human body even if it is taken in low dosage. Acetaminophen overdoses are usually caused by taking more than one drug, which contains acetaminophen, like taking painkiller and a cold medicine at the same time.

However, the acetaminophen is very harmful for the liver. A study, which was published in the Journal of American Medical Association, has shown that acetaminophen leads to liver failure, even though it is taken as prescribed. In the study, there were 145 volunteers, who were classified into three categories.

Namely, the first group took acetaminophen / opioid combination; the second group took only acetaminophen, whereas the third group took placebo. Each of the volunteers took the prescribed dose of acetaminophen. The groups were examined in a period of 2 weeks.

The results of the study have shown that the two groups, which took only acetaminophen, had increased level of liver enzyme from 31 % – 44 %, which means that it led to liver failure.

Acetaminophen uses the resources of glutathione in the body. So, if glutathione is used very quickly, the liver gets stressed, so that acute liver failure is caused. If someone poisoned with acetaminophen is treated in the emergency, they are injected with glutathione or are given IV, so that their liver is protected.

Acetaminophen is considered as one of the most harmful drugs in the stores. What is worse is the fact that it is present in almost all homes. Acetaminophen is the main reason why people make calls to Poison Control Centers in the USA – there are over 100. 000 cases a year.

According to the recent researches, the risk is slightly increased if acetaminophen is taken with alcohol, like a popping pill for headache, or if it taken with Tylenol for hangover. It has been proven that the consumption of acetaminophen with alcohol increased the risk of kidney damage by up to 123 %.

The line between the normal and the harmful dose of acetaminophen is tiny. The PBS News stated that if acetaminophen is taken over a few days, or 25 % over the recommended daily intake, or only two more pills per day, leads to liver damage.

We are all familiar with the fact that over the counter drugs and medicines have negative effects. However, the fact that there are medicines, which contain one of the most harmful drugs, in almost every home, is found very worrying.

Millions of people consume acetaminophen on a daily basis for various health issues, including headaches, muscle or joint pain, back pain, a flu or a cold. When it comes to the increased risk of acute liver failure in the USA, due to the high acetaminophen dosage, we should think about other ways of treatment and healing.

Reference: David Wolfe