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505: Use Only as Directed

One of the country's most popular over-the-counter painkillers — acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol — also kills the most people, according to data from the federal government. Over 150 Americans die each year on average after accidentally taking too much. And it requires a lot less to endanger you than you may know. We reported this alongside ProPublica. Their stories here and here.
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  • Prologue.

    10 Min
    Host Ira Glass tells the story of Sarah Erush, a pharmacist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She was contacted by the Food and Drug Administration and encouraged to examine cases of acetaminophen overdose at her hospital. Erush was surprised by how little over the recommended dose of the drug resulted in liver damage and, for three patients, death.
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