Health Canada is releasing an updated Labelling Standard for over-the-counter acetaminophen products to help consumers use these products more safely.
Acetaminophen, sometimes sold as Tylenol, is one of the most commonly used pain and fever relievers in Canada. While Health Canada says it is used safely by most Canadians, overdoses and prolonged use can cause liver damage, liver failure and even death.
The new labelling will emphasize taking the lowest effective dose, not exceeding the recommended daily maximum, using them for no more than five days for pain and three for fever, and not consuming more than two alcoholic drinks in a day while taking acetaminophen.
Labels will also display the words “contains acetaminophen” in bold, red text in the top right corner. They’ll also need to include a “Drug Facts” table with instructions, warnings and safety information.
They also recommend that children’s liquid products include a calibrated dosing device, so caregivers can make sure they give kids the right amount.
Health Canada will also send a notice to companies discouraging them from including acetaminophen in quantities greater than 325 milligrams.
The changes come into effect immediately, and companies with products already on the market will have 18 months to update their product labels.