NCPDP releases updated acetaminophen white paper

Retailers commit to clear labeling of acetaminophen-containing medicines

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A standards-development organization for the pharmacy services industry has updated a white paper on protecting consumers and patients from accidental overdoses of the painkiller acetaminophen.

The NCPDP announced the updated white paper, "NCPDP Recommendations for Improved Prescription Container Labels for Medicines Containing Acetaminophen Version 1.1."

The NCPDP mobilized healthcare industry participants in 2011 to explore the issue of acetaminophen overdose, recommending that the industry implement measures to help patients avoid overdoses by enabling them to identify when their prescription medicines contain the drug, compare active ingredients on OTC and prescription drug labels and avoid the use of multiple medicines containing acetaminophen. Such pharmacy retailers as Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart and Target have implemented or committed to phased implementation of the NCPDP's recommendations to produce prescription labels with the complete spelling of acetaminophen and eliminate use of such abbreviations as "acet" and "APAP" while prioritizing the standard acetaminophen warning label in the top-three warnings for prescription medicines.

"Liver injury from acetaminophen overdose remains a serious public health problem," FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director Janet Woodcock said. "NCPDP's leadership in working with the pharmacy system industry to develop and implement these voluntary standards continues to be an effective complement to FDA's regulatory and educational efforts to improve the safe use of acetaminophen-containing medicines."

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