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Why medical professionals are sceptical about giving Tylenol to children - Research Paper Example

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Tylenol is a very efficient and safe anti-pyretic (fever reducing) and analgesic (pain-killing) agent in children. The generic name for Tylenol (brand name) is Acetaminophen. …
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Why medical professionals are sceptical about giving Tylenol to children
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Download file to see previous pages It is also available as an over-the-counter drug since the year 1960 and studies indicate that the drug has few severe adverse effects provided that one does not exceed the recommended dosage. In effect, the use of Tylenol in place of aspirin for fever treatment in infants has largely reduced the incidence of Reye's syndrome, a lethal kind of liver failure. Moreover, in a recent assessment of over 28,000 children under acetaminophen treatment, there was no greater risk of anaphylaxis, acute gastrointestinal bleeding or severe renal failure (Lee, 1 & Heubi, 2). Despite these desirable safety records, medical professionals remain skeptical about administering Tylenol to children. This is because when the drug is taken in supra-therapeutic doses, acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity can be fatal. These include accidental overdose when children receive the drug together with cough/cold preparations, an inadvertent overdose when a child receives multiple acetaminophen doses that go beyond the recommendations of the manufacturer, or a deliberate overdose with a single dose going beyond 140 mg/kg. In a period of ten years at five hospitals in California, 73 children (under 19 years) showed signs of acetaminophen hepatotoxicity, with 62 out of 63 suicidal patients (three of whom required orthotropic liver transplant) and 9 of 10 patients with inadvertent overdoses living on (Heubi, 2). Chronic acetaminophen (APAP) toxicity has been identified in pediatric patients. In most cases, young, febrile children with reduced oral intake who received treatment with repeated acetaminophen doses fall victim of this condition. Chronic acetaminophen toxicity’s risk factors include young age, continued dispensation of high doses, poor oral intake, and fever. The diagnosis of chronic acetaminophen toxicity is not easy, because the presentation of the patient may seem to be a sign of the initial sickness. It is therefore important to consult a medical toxicologist or a poison control center regarding management strategies (Defendi, 1-4) The most current American Association of Poison Control Centers’ figures indicate that in the year 1994, there were 71 serious incidents of acetaminophen poisoning among children, with severe life-threatening or long-term effects in 10 of the children. According to The Food and Drug Administration, between 1970 and 1991, 13 children under the age of 13 died because of acetaminophen poisoning (Hepatitis Foundation International, 2). Another acetaminophen hepatotoxicity study in inadvertent cases of overdose reported a wide array of implicated doses, with the most common causes (about half of the cases) involving the administration of adult preparations to young ones and subsequent erroneous replacement of a higher-concentration preparation for a lower-concentration preparation. 55% of the patients passed away, five patients went through liver transplants, with four living on (Heubi, 2). According to some early reports published in the 1970's, incidences of chronic liver disease were reported in patients who used Tylenol in recommended doses for a long time. Scientists agree that though rarely, taking Tylenol in usual doses brings about considerable liver damage (Lee, 1). Lee also notes that Tylenol can bring about liver enzymes’ elevations in the blood suggesting liver injury. In a two weeks survey of 145 healthy individuals randomized to receive four grams of Tylenol or placebo every day, while 33-44% of individuals in the Tylenol group had ALT (a liver enzyme) elevations over three times the normal limits, no ALT elevations were noted in the placebo group. In the Tylenol group, the highest ALT elevation was over ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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