1. Acetaminophen boosts ADHD risk

    Acetaminophen boosts ADHD risk

    When you're pregnant, you're not just eating for two. Everything you do is for two -- and that includes taking meds.

    But believe it or not, many of today's most commonly used drugs have never been fully tested for safety in pregnant women and their children, and that's as true for over-the-counter meds as it is for prescription drugs.

    And now, new research finds that one of the most commonly used over-the-counter meds of all could damage the brain of your baby.

    It's the painkiller acetaminophen, aka Tylenol (but it's also found in everything from cold meds to sleep aids) and the new study finds it can cross the placental barrier and harm the development of baby's brain in a way that could lead to ADHD later on.

    And by age 11, kids born to moms who took the drug while pregnant are 30 percent more likely to have ADHD and 37 percent more likely to have the most severe form of the condition than kids born to moms who didn't.

    The more mom-to-be takes the drug, the higher the risk -- and women who take it for 20 weeks or more during pregnancy have kids 50 percent more likely to suffer from ADHD later, according to the study of nearly 65,000 women.

    What's truly frightening here is that this drug is one of the most commonly used meds among pregnant women -- and it's long been assumed by the mainstream that it's safe.

    Clearly, acetaminophen is anything but.

    While I believe it's important for everyone to try nondrug options for pain first, it's especially critical for pregnant women.

    If you're expecting, start with treatments such as acupuncture as well as homeopathic remedies. Massage and heat treatments will also do the trick in many cases, but speak to your doctor before you try anything else, including herbal remedies, to make sure what you choose is safe for your baby.

    I realize that some of you reading this are planning for grandchildren or even great grandchildren rather than kids of your own, so please share this information with any woman in your life who's of childbearing age.

  2. Acetaminophen warning falls short

    FDA inaction on acetaminophen could kill you

    It's a common dose of a common med -- one that's in millions of homes across the country and around the world.

    Odds are, it's even sitting in your medicine chest right now.

    It's 500 mg of acetaminophen, or the exact dose found in Extra-Strength Tylenol and its generic equivalents -- but the fact that it's so common doesn't make it safe.

    Even the FDA says this dose is so dangerous that it shouldn't exist -- just don't expect them to actually do much about it.

    I'm sure you've heard by now about the so-called ban on doses higher than 325 mg. The agency says -- correctly -- that higher doses aren't much better at relieving pain and increase the risk of liver injury and even liver failure.

    But the ban is for prescription drugs only and doesn't apply to Extra-Strength Tylenol or any other over-the-counter versions of acetaminophen, which together account for more than 90 percent of the drug's sales.


    Allow me to pull back the curtain and show you the ugly truth about who really calls the shots at the FDA -- because it's not doctors or scientists with your best interests at heart.

    It's the drug industry itself.

    Back in 2009, the FDA hinted that it would like to reduce the dose of over-the-counter acetaminophen drugs, specifically to reduce the risk of liver damage. And at that moment, the makers of Tylenol made it quite clear who wears the pants.

    The drug's maker began ordering the FDA around, spelling out the conditions the agency would have to meet to make the change.

    Specifically, the company told the FDA it would have to amend its internal final analgesic monograph, provide a notice and comment period of at least a year and then another period to implement the change.

    Instead, the company "suggested" merely updating the fine-print warning telling consumers to limit themselves to 3,000 mg per day instead of 4,000 mg per day.

    It was an offer the agency couldn't refuse, so that's what we have: a change in the fine print instead of a change in the dose (and 3,000 mg per day is still far too much).

    That means millions of people who continue to take these high-dose versions of the drug are still facing big risks -- risks that are neither small nor rare, since acetaminophen sends 80,000 Americans to the ER every year and is the nation's number one cause of acute liver failure.

    And thanks to the FDA's inaction on this critical issue, you can bet the numbers will continue to rise.

    But you don't need the FDA to protect your or your family. You've got me -- and I've got four common-sense tips for dealing with pain.

    First, consider natural anti-inflammatory supplements such as curcumin and MSM for pain relief. And for chronic pain, I recommend acupuncture, cold laser and other nondrug options.

    Second, if you do need a painkiller, limit yourself to the smallest possible dose for the shortest possible period.

    Third, be aware of how easy it is to overdose on acetaminophen, because it's not just found in painkillers. It's in everything from cold remedies to sleep meds. It's so common that many of the people who overdose had no idea they were taking it at all.

    And fourth, work with a holistic medical doctor who can identify and correct the cause of your pain so you won't need painkillers of any kind.

  3. Acetaminophen and alcohol can damage kidneys

    The painkiller acetaminophen when taken with booze can damage the kidneys and double your risk of kidney disease, according to the latest research.
  4. Acetaminophen can lead to deadly skin conditions

    The FDA is warning over potentially deadly skin conditions linked to acetaminophen, the painkiller commonly sold as Tylenol.
  5. Take two chickens and call me in the morning

    It's the Buy-One-Get-One-Free special stores don't advertise: Buy some chicken, get some meds for free. And just to make it more convenient for everyone, the drugs aren't in their own package -- they're already inside the chicken.
  6. Another bad use for painkillers

    Hearts have been broken for about as long as there have been hearts to break -- but it's only in recent years that people began to rely on drugs to get over the emotional toll of rejection. And if a new study is any indication, self-medication for this "condition" is about to get dangerously easy.
  7. New instructions for Tylenol

    J&J says the changes it will make -- next year, mind you, not today -- will help stop the overuse that's turned the drug's main ingredient, acetaminophen, into the leading cause of liver failure in the United States. But they're not changing the drug.
  8. Common painkiller ups cancer risk

    Posted by: on
    It's the everyday pill that's in everyone's medicine chest -- and millions of people pop 'em twice a day or more in a misguided and dangerous attempt to beat life's aches and pains.
  9. Killer cures for kids?

    Using a combination of scare tactics and selective science, the researchers isolated 39 reports of kids who suffered side effects blamed on complementary treatments that took place between 2001 and 2003.
  10. The painkiller deception

    I know plenty of people with arthritis who are left wondering why even the most powerful drugs never quite do the trick. So they take more – and higher doses… all the while still fighting pain and getting no better.
  11. Pain for the painkillers

    Finally, folks in the mainstream are ready to talk common sense when it comes to painkillers.
  12. New warnings for common painkillers

    Posted by: on
    Common over-the-counter painkillers have needed more prominent warning labels for years. They're among our most overused drugs, yet most people have no idea how dangerous they can be.

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