Acetaminophen Addiction Can Be Treated, Liver Failure Might Not Be!

Acetaminophen Addiction Can Be Treated, Liver Failure Might Not Be!

Acetaminophen, Hydrocodone and Oxycodone Abuse

Acetaminophen (ACM) was first introduced in 1955 as Tylenol and is definitely still one of the most used medications in the United States. Acetaminophen is a non-narcotic substance (C8H9NO2) that's used to treat headaches, used to treat pain, and used to reduce fevers. Yearly sales of Acetaminophen products are well into the billions of dollars.

The abuse of pain pills in our nation has skyrocketed in the past several years; many young people are abusing them as well as adults. Our older generation unintentionally miss-uses painkillers quite often by taking them too often because they forgot they had already taken them. The abuse of drugs and medications containing acetaminophen has been responsible for many acetaminophen overdoses, liver damage, acute liver failure and death. Because acetaminophen is in so many over the counter medications and in many prescription medications the possibilities for ACM toxicity is huge.

Click the image below to watch this video that will explain what medications contain Acetaminophen and talks about the dangers of taking to much Acetaminophen.

acetaminophen addiction

When acetaminophen is used as prescribed it's safe and effective but when used carelessly, unknowingly, or purposely abused the dangers are serious as well as deadly. Because of the amount of abuse and misuse of medications and drugs containing acetaminophen, health officials in the United States said they were lowering the maximum amount of the pain reliever (acetaminophen) that is allowed in prescription medications like Vicodin and Percocet. This decision is being made due to the reports of severe liver damage.

When it comes to taking Tylenol for headaches, aches and pains I am as guilty as the next person for not being careful. I think many of us forget or just don't know the risks involved with acetaminophen even if we are taking recommended doses. A lot of people pop Tylenol for the slightest uncomfortable physical feeling, take them sooner than they should, and exceed the recommended dose in a 24 hour period sometimes. Not being cautious can catch up with us down the road if we're not more careful.

There are a lot of people today that use acetaminophen combined with Hydrocodone or Oxycodone and they have developed severe dependency on them. They have found themselves seriously addicted to the painkillers and don't know what to do about it. These people have been prescribed the pain pills legitimately but due to tolerance they needed more and more just to make it through the day. Some people will do anything they have to do in order to get more because this addiction is mentally and physically consuming them. Many will even resort to using other dangerous drugs out of desperation because they feel that bad.

Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen Addiction

Many young people and adults abuse products that contain Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen like Anexsia, Dolacet, Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin, and Zydone. These are very powerful and addictive painkillers that people are dependent on for a couple of reasons. Some became dependent due to tolerance after taking one of these prescribed painkillers for medical reasons. Others abuse some of the drugs mentioned above for the sake of getting high. Not only are some of them in need of drug detox and treatment but many of them have liver problems if they were chronic users for an extended period of time.

diseased liverIndividuals that abuse hydrocodone products in large doses are at risk of dependency and possible overdose. The acetaminophen is taking a toll on the liver which has been known to lead to liver damage and acute liver failure. The result of acute liver failure from abusing acetaminophen has led to death for many people. There are excellent treatment centers everywhere to help an individual with an addiction to drugs. Behavioral Therapy is available to help with the emotional side of drug addiction but, once your liver is shot there is no guarantee that it can be fixed.


Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen Overdose Symptoms

It's extremely easy to overdose on hydrocodone and acetaminophen when using large doses. The symptoms below need to be taken seriously otherwise the results will be devastating.

  1. Breathing becomes shallow (respiratory depression)
  2. Excessive and severe drowsiness
  3. Coma
  4. Skin becomes clammy and cold
  5. Heart beat slows down
  6. Circulatory collapse
  7. Cardiac arrest
  8. Death

Oxycodone and Acetaminophen Addiction

Oxycodone is a very powerful and strong narcotic that is used to treat pain; it also suppresses coughs and is found in cough medicines and other medications. The combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen is prescribed for the relief of pain and sometimes prescribed for chronic pain due to cancer. Some of the drugs that fall into this category are; Percocet, Roxicet, Tylox, Oxycet, and Roxilox. Many people that are taking oxycodone combined with acetaminophen have found themselves dependent on the painkiller and they become desperate when they run out and need more.

Then there are those that abuse Oxycodone pain pills like Percocet just for the sake of getting high. On the streets they refer to these drugs as:

  • Paulas
  • No Buffers
  • Blue Dynamite
  • 512's
  • Percs
  • Roxi's


Individuals that abuse oxycodone combined with acetaminophen are risking the following withdrawal symptoms when they run out; tolerance, addiction, liver damage, liver failure, kidney failure, overdose, or a fatal overdose which is death.

Oxycodone and Acetaminophen Overdose Symptoms

It doesn't matter whether you take painkillers legitimately or not, the risk of overdose is there if a person is careless, desperate or looking to create a euphoric high. These symptoms need to be taken seriously because they have been fatal for many people

  1. Severe tiredness or drowsiness
  2. Pupils are pin-point in size
  3. Nausea
  4. Vomiting
  5. Urine may be dark in color
  6. Skin or eyes may appear yellow, this is called jaundice
  7. Mental Confusion
  8. Skin is clammy and cold
  9. Weakness in the muscles
  10. Passing out (fainting)
  11. Pulse becomes weak
  12. Lips become blue in color
  13. Coma
  14. Shallow or slowed breathing
  15. Death

Please trust me when I say there is help for Hydrocodone and Oxycodone addiction and it doesn't matter how or why the addiction took place. The dangers involved when abusing drugs is very serious but it's not impossible to beat the dependency or addiction. One of the reasons some people continue to use is because the withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable and sometimes miserable. What you need to understand is that the serious health issues you will face down the road are far worse.

If you are a heavy or chronic user of acetaminophen combination drugs no matter what the reason is, there is no need to go through withdrawals by yourself. Going for medical help will require honesty but that's the first step in the right direction. Going into a drug treatment program is the safest way to detox from drug use and drastically lowers the risk of relapse. Residential Treatment is recommended for anyone who has chronically used or abused any type of drug. I realize this is a huge step but then so is death.

Outpatient Treatment is extremely successful for those in need of treatment for addiction to acetaminophen combination drugs like hydrocodone or oxycodone or any other drug abuse. The type of drug treatment needed for addiction may be an individual choice for most people but the more severe the abuse, use, and what your over-all health is definitely makes a huge difference. Sometimes a Residential Treatment Program is best for someone who has heavily abused narcotics or drugs for any length of time.

12 Step programs like Narcotics Anonymous can make a huge difference while working toward recovery and abstaining from any narcotic drug. Some people find the need for individual therapy for a while along with NA; this is a necessary choice to make because of underlying issues.

Behavioral Therapy is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. There are reasons behind most everything we do and it's not always easy making changes, this is true for most people whether they use drugs or not. Learning how to avoid bad situations, learning to deal with stress differently, and forgiving yourself is critical for long-term recovery from any addiction. Behavioral Therapy is a big part of any substance abuse treatment and makes a huge difference for long-term abstinence and recovery.

Web Sources
Medline Plus
CA.GOV Department of Health Care Services Medi-Cal
PMP prescription monitoring program Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection
Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection

Topic Discussion

  1. Addict

    Can I get help with Tylenol PM? I have used it since 2000 and I take up to 8 pills a night. I'm really scared it has done damage to my liver and maybe kidneys.

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