Johnson & Johnson has revealed a new bottle cap design for Tylenol products sold in the U.S. which will warn consumers in bright red lettering that the medication contains acetaminophen. The labels will alert users to the potentially fatal risks of taking too much Tylenol, which is an unusual step for a company to make.
It’s an unusual step, surely, but not unprompted, notes the Associated Press: The federal government is pushing for better labels as lawsuits are cropping up and consumers are increasingly taking too much of the popular pain reliever. Tylenol would be the first product — out of many that contain acetaminophen — to expressly warn users of the dangers associated with it.
The alerts will start showing up on new bottles of the Extra Strength product starting in October, and on other Tylenol bottles soon after. They read: “CONTAINS ACETAMINOPHEN” and “ALWAYS READ THE LABEL.”
Acetaminophen, though widespread, is not just a tame, everyday drug: Overdoses linked to the medication send 55,000 to 80,000 people a year to the emergency room and kill at least 500, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.
But plenty of us take acetaminophen on a regular basis, and it’s in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription products.
“We’re always looking for ways to better communicate information to patients and consumers,” says Dr. Edwin Kuffner, vice president of McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the Johnson & Johnson unit that makes Tylenol.
Company tries new cap to curb Tylenol overdoses [Associated Press]