Q. Acetaminophen is perceived as an extremely safe pain reliever for both children and adults. More people should realize that this drug has numerous risks, including asthma and hearing loss. Even though the FDA knows about the problems with acetaminophen, it has not done enough to alert the public to the dangers. Please warn your readers.
A. Although acetaminophen is an effective pain reliever that does not irritate the digestive tract, it does have some side effects. Too much can be toxic to the liver.
An analysis of nearly 20 studies involving more than 400,000 subjects concluded that regular use of acetaminophen does seem to be linked to a higher likelihood of asthma (Chest, Nov. 2009).
A recent study in the American Journal of Medicine (March, 2010) suggests that long-term use of acetaminophen is linked with hearing loss, especially in men under 50 years of age.