McNeil promotes OTC safety with new website

FORT WASHINGTON, Pa. — McNeil Consumer Healthcare on Thursday launched an enhanced consumer education website called to promote safety in using OTC medicines to help kick a cold. 

Each year, an estimated 7-in-10 Americans turn to OTC medicines to treat their cold and flu symptoms, McNeil reported. Many of these medicines contain acetaminophen, a common pain reliever/fever reducer that patients and consumers rely on to provide relief from cold and flu symptoms, such as headache, fever, sore throat and body pains. Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and also can be found in more than 600 OTC and prescription medications, such as NyQuil, Theraflu, Percocet and Vicodin.

Particularly during cold-flu season, when consumers are seeking relief, they may reach for more than one medication to treat their symptoms. It is important that consumers are aware of the ingredients in their medications and that they read and follow their medicine labels to help prevent accidentally taking more than the maximum daily dose of acetaminophen, McNeil noted.   

"Acetaminophen is safe when used as directed, but taking too much of it can harm your liver," stated Edwin Kuffner, VP medical affairs and clinical research at McNeil. "Some people may accidentally take more than the total daily dose of acetaminophen because they do not realize they are taking multiple products containing acetaminophen, or because they may not read and follow the label."

At the enhanced website, consumers can try out the new interactive medicine checker and see if the OTC or prescription medicines they are taking contain acetaminophen. The site features several videos about general acetaminophen safety, an illustrated guide on how to read medicine labels and proper acetaminophen dosage for adults and children. The site also features tips on how to keep medicines safely out of the reach of children and a companion diagram showing specific locations within the home to be extra cautious about — areas where medicines might commonly be left within the reach of children.

"Through our enhanced website and other education efforts, we want to help patients and consumers use our medicines safely and appropriately," Kuffner said. "The tools and information available on the site are easy to use, and can help families ensure they get relief safely this cold-flu season."

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