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Common over-the-counter painkillers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, need stronger warnings according to the FDA. Although the drugs are safe when used as directed, the public needs to remember that there are serious risks when such medicines are not used properly. For instance, an acetaminophen overdose can cause serious liver damage, or even death. Other possible risks with these painkillers include kidney damage and gastrointestinal bleeding. Part of the current concern about overuse of over-the-counter painkillers comes from the wide availability of these drugs along with the use of combination products used to treat multiple symptoms at once. Hundreds of thousands of people are sent to the hospital, and thousands die, because of the effects of painkillers. The proposed label changes would toughen the warnings and highlight them on the products. Common brand names for some of the affected drugs are Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, Aleve. The products are also sold generically. The FDA urges companies to immediately revise their labels, even though the proposed changes won’t take effect until December 2007.

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