Tylenol Overdose is a Leading Cause of Liver Failure

Side effects of Tylenol and other acetaminophen pain medications may increase the risk of serious and potentially life-threatening liver problems, including liver failure and the need for a liver transplant.

Although the drug makers were aware of the potential risk of liver damage from Tylenol, they failed to provide adequate warnings and allowed consumers to believe that acetaminophen pain medications are safer than they actually are. For years Tylenol and other medications were sold with only minimal warnings about the link between acetaminophen and liver damage, and products failed to provide sufficient information to alert consumers to the potential risk of Tylenol overdose from using too much of the medication or combining different pain drugs that contain acetaminophen.

As a result of the failure to warn about the risk of Tylenol side effects, compensation was pursued through product liability lawsuits. However, new cases are no longer accepted. This page is provided for informational purposes only.


In the United States, acetaminophen overdose has been the leading cause of liver failure, resulting in more than 50,000 emergency room visits, 25,000 hospitalizations for liver problems and over 450 deaths annually.

In many cases, liver problems from Tylenol occur when individuals unintentionally take dangerous doses, either due to confusion over what is a safe dose or due to unknowingly taking multiple acetaminophen products.

Symptoms of Tylenol liver problems may include:

  • Jaundice
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Confusion and Disorientation
  • Abdomen Pain
  • Problems Concentrating
  • Excessive Sleepiness


Due to the risks associated with a Tylenol overdose, an FDA advisory panel was convened in June 2009 to review ways the regulatory agency could reduce the risk of death and liver damage from acetaminophen. Among recommended new warnings the advisory panel considered for Tylenol, NyQuill and other acetaminophen products included:

  • Lowering the maximum daily dose to less than 4,000mg and limiting over-the-counter painkillers to 325mg per dose, down from 500mg in some products.
  • Warning that taking more than the recommended dose can cause liver damage.
  • Warning that acetaminophen products should not be used in combination with other acetaminophen medications.
  • Require drug makers to highlight when acetaminophen is the active ingredient in medications.
  • Warn alcohol users and people with liver disease about the increased risk of liver damage
  • Warn users to obtain prompt medical attention after an acetaminophen overdose, even if they have no symptoms of liver damage.

In January 2011, the FDA announced new limits on acetaminophen, requiring prescription painkillers to limit the amount of acetaminophen to reduce the risk of liver damage. However, manufacturers of over-the-counter versions of Tylenol and acetaminophen did not place similar limits on the use at that time.

Johnson & Johnson finally agreed to lower the maximum recommended dose for Tylenol and other acetaminophen products in July 2011, acknowledging that these actions could reduce the risk of a Tylenol overdose resulting in liver damage. The recommended daily use of Extra Stength Tylenol dropped from a maximum of 8 pills per day to 6, reducing the maximum daily dosage from 4,000mg to 3,000mg.


As a result of the failure to warn that side effects of Tylenol and other acetaminophen medications may increase the risk of liver problems, compensation was previously pursued through acetaminophen lawsuits for users who have been:

  • Hospitalized Due to Severe Liver Injury or Liver Problems within 1 Week of Using Acetaminophen
  • Diagnosed with Liver Failure
  • Underwent a Liver Transplant or Placed on Waiting List for Liver Transplant
  • Died from Liver Failure within 1 Week of Using Acetaminophen
UPDATE: The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are no longer reviewing new Tylenol cases. This page is provided for informational purposes.