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FDA Orders Lowering Pain Reliever in Vicodin

Aspirin

 (iStock)

Federal health regulators are limiting a key ingredient found in Vicodin, Percocet and other prescription painkillers that have been linked to thousands of cases of liver damage each year.

The Food and Drug Administration says it will cap the amount of acetaminophen in the drugs at 325 milligrams per capsule.

Acetaminophen is a ubiquitous pain reliever found in Tylenol, Nyquil and thousands of other medicines used to treat headaches, muscle aches and sore throats. But regulators say acetaminophen is dangerous at the larger doses found in prescription combination drugs that combine it with other drugs like oxycodone.

Acetaminophen is the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S. and sends 56,000 people to the emergency room annually. About 200 die each year. The FDA estimates 120 of those deaths are linked to prescription drugs with acetaminophen.