Painkillers: Are they safe?
First a federal advisory committee recommended that the government lower the daily recommended dosage of acetaminophen, based on the idea that it is relatively easy to overdose on the drug, and that it's been linked to liver damage. Acetaminophen is in Tylenol, of course, but it's also in plenty of other multipurpose medications.
That information led runners and other athletesmany of us who pop pills often to combat achy joints and musclesto wonder exactly what we should be taking; after all, acetaminophen is supposed to be safer and gentler on the stomach than other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories like aspirin. Luckily, my friends at Thats Fit (who have a great triathlon training series going on, by the way) tackled this tough question just when I needed answers.
They interviewed Robert Sallis, MD, the codirector of Sports Medicine Fellowship at Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center, who assured them that Tylenol is still likely the safest choice for most people, and that athletes who take less than 2,000 milligrams a day (about six regular-strength tablets) shouldn't worry. Of course, persistent pain is likely a sign of tissue damage, he added, so it's best to get checked out if you find you're turning to pills on a regular basis.