Yesterday, news came out that Health Canada has told the makers of the pain reliever acetaminophen to provide more obvious label instructions and stronger warnings on the packaging of their products. While acetaminophen is taken safely by most people, it comes with the risk of liver damage, especially with long term use. Liver damage can lead to liver failure and even death.
The new guidelines say that product makers, like Tylenol, must warn people (1) to use the lowest effective dose, (2) not exceed 4 grams for adults in a 24-hour period, (3) use the product for no more than 5 days for pain, or 3 for fever, and (4) avoid mixing with alcohol if drinking 3 or more drinks.
This is just another recommendation to come out that supports that the use of drugs to treat pain can have serious side effects. We previously wrote about the CDC's message to physicians to avoid opiate painkillers. While acetaminophen and opiates do have their place, it's important for consumers to understand the risks and to know when it is appropriate to use these drugs.
This is an opportunity for the massage therapy industry. While there's no need to strike fear into clients, we can take on the role of educators simply by sharing the recommendations of Health Canada and the CDC, and as the news spreads, consumers will naturally look for alternatives to drugs - like massage therapy. And we have the research to support that massage is effective for things like the treatment of lower back pain.