EM1605J "Acetaminophen: Poison or Panacea" (IM GR-052016)

Acetaminophen (N-acetyl-p-aminophenol, APAP, paracetamol, Tylenol®) is the most commonly used drug for the treatment of pain and fever around the world. At the same time, APAP is capable of causing dose-related hepatocellular necrosis responsible for nearly 500 deaths annually in the U.S., as well as 100,000 calls to US Poison Control Centers and 50,000 emergency room visits. APAP toxicity dwarfs all other prescription drugs as a cause for acute liver failure in the United States and Europe, but is not regulated in any significant way. This presentation will highlight the ongoing controversy as to the role of this ubiquitous pain reliever, beginning with its history, pathogenesis of the liver injury, its recognition, treatment and outcomes.

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Target Audience

UT Southwestern faculty, fellows, residents and medical students, community physicians, nurse clinicians, physician assistants and nurses.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, the participant should be able to:

  • Distinguish the clinical and biochemical injury pattern of APAP from that of other drug-related liver injury.
  • Recognize modes of treatment for APAP liver injury.
  • Summarize the measures FDA has taken to attempt to limit APAP-related deaths.
  • Take a stand: poison or panacea?
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 AMA
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Photo: William M. Lee, M.D.William M. Lee, M.D.
Professor of Internal Medicine and Biomedical Engineering
Meredith Mosle Chair in Liver Disease
Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases

Available Credit

  • 1.00 AMA


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