The FDA is asking doctors to lower the dose of Acetaminophen in presecription drugs. "Many pharmacy's are out right now of the higher dosage forms and I expect within the next couple months the entire supply is going to be depleted," said registered pharmacist Tom Fite. Acetaminophen is commonly paired with opioids such as Oxycodone making Percocet, or Hydrocodone to make Vicodin. The FDA is asking doctors to drop the dosage of Acetaminophen from 500 mg to 325 mg, because the higher dosage has proven to cause liver damage. Some want to take out the Acetaminophen entirely, although that could cause stomach problems. "Some manufacturers are trying to advocate taking single entity products. Which typically are a schedule two medication like Oxycodone, and those type of things to get away form the Acetaminophen all together," said Fite.
Manufacturers have stopped making it, doctor's have stopped prescribing it, and insurance companies are also trying to keep patients away from high does Acetaminophen. "Some insurance companies will actually dictate that the patient can't get more than three grams per day and they'll do a calculation for you. So if you submit a claim that shows you will get more than three grams per day they'll reject it," said Fite.
Pharmacies are still allowed to distribute the high dose Acetaminophen until supplies run out, which could be in the next couple months. Pharmacist say liver damage is only caused when high dose Acetaminophen is taken for an extended period of time short term use is not considered dangerous.