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A Relationship between Tylenol and Asthma

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Researchers have linked the use of the painkiller acetaminophen (Tylenol) to both asthma and rhinitis. Individuals who used acetaminophen on a daily or weekly basis were shown to exhibit far more severe symptoms of asthma and rhinitis than those who didn't use the drug. (Thorax 00;55(4):266-70)

Acetaminophen has been shown to deplete the compound glutathione from lung tissue. Glutathione is a very important antioxidant that can limit lung tissue inflammation. Also, there is a direct relationship between glutathione levels and premature aging.  You can read more about this under Acetaminophen Poisoning in the article called "What Scientists Know About Aging."

Acetaminophen-containing products (Tylenol, Midol, Alka-Seltzer Plus, Vanquish, etc.) result in over 100,000 calls a year to poison control centers, 560,000 visits to emergency facilities, 260,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths. From 1996 to 1998 the average annual deaths directly attributed to acetaminophen averaged approximately 458. I wonder what the regulatory agencies would do if a supplement were to kill 450 people a year?

Confidential documents revealed that the FDA has purposely avoided addressing the dangers of acetaminophen to avoid offending Johnson and Johnson (the dominant marketer of acetaminophen products) and the pharmaceutical industry. (BMJ 02;325:678)

The regulating authorities in the United Kingdom recognized that they were having the same problems, and required that acetaminophen be blister-packed instead of sold as bottles of loose tablets. Their research indicated that individuals would be less likely to overdose when the medication was packaged differently. By simply repackaging the acetaminophen, they have significantly reduced the number of drug-related poisonings, liver transplantations, and deaths. (RJM 01;322:1203-7)

I doubt that any such thing will happen in the U.S., simply because the change in packaging resulted in UK sales of acetaminophen products dropping from $123 billion to $84 billion. Thus, although 50 million Americans take some form of acetaminophen for pain each week, the FDA proceeds as if the known side effects, such as immune suppression, hearing loss, liver damage, and even death, are all acceptable risks for a pain reliever.

The FDA and other "watchdog" government agencies seldom are called to account for erroneous or irresponsible decisions. In the Dow Chemical silicone breast implant suit, the government was recently awarded $9.8 million for medical expenses paid out through Medicare and Medicaid. It didn't seem to matter that another agency, the FDA, of the same government had previously approved the use and sale of these implants and is currently considering whether to allow them to be sold again.

Further, these same agencies show definite bias when it comes to evaluating the risks associated with drugs. A good example is the fact that the agencies are constantly pushing for vaccinations and flu shots. For some reason, however, they neglect to tell the public that the preservative in these flu shots and vaccines is mercury.

It seems that many over-the-counter drugs that are generally considered harmless are instead shortening our lives and contributing to serious health problems. The latest figures show that roughly two million people are now being hospitalized each year from drug side effects and more than 100,000 of them die from those effects. That's enough to make drug side effects the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.

A Positive Role for Acetaminophen

You may have seen one of many bizarre television programs showing how brown tree snakes have practically taken over this island of Guam. Since an accidental introduction in the 1940s, these snakes have mushroomed in population to as high as an estimated 26,000 snakes per square mile. Since they have no natural enemies, they have decimated the lizard, rabbit, and bird populations. and been known to eat piglets, puppies, and even bite unattended babies. And by crawling along power lines, they've created electrical shorts resulting in local blackouts. All efforts thus far to eradicate the snakes have been ineffective.

When researchers placed two 40-milligram acetaminophen tablets inside dead, newborn mice and fed them to the snakes, every snake that took the bait died. Since previous toxicology studies have shown that the drug poses little risk to other wildlife and domestic animals, it appears that Tylenol may be the answer to the snake problem.

  

 

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