October 19, 2015 — The first Tylenol lawsuit has ended in a win for Johnson & Johnson with the jury unsure what version of the drug caused the plaintiff’s injuries, Bloomberg reports.
The lawsuit was filed by Regina Jackson, a New Jersey state employee who claims to have accidentally overdosed on Extra Strength Tylenol. She spent a week in the hospital with elevated liver enzymes in February 2011.
Four months after Jackson was injured, J&J lowered the maximum recommended daily dose of Tylenol from 4,000-mg to 3,000-mg.
After a roughly four-week trial, the jury deliberated for just one hour before deciding that Jackson could not prove that she actually took Extra Strength Tylenol (500-mg acetaminophen) instead of the regular-strength version (325-mg acetaminophen).
The jury also declined to rule on the defectiveness of Tylenol or on any questions regarding safety.
J&J still faces about 220 lawsuits, with the first federal trial scheduled for early next year in Philadelphia. The drug-maker is accused of negligence for failing to adequately warn consumers about the narrow margin between a “safe” dose of Tylenol and an overdose.
Tylenol may be well-tolerated in low doses, but many people are not aware that it breaks down into a highly-toxic compound. Because the liver can only metabolize a certain amount of Tylenol, taking just a tiny bit too much can be catastrophic.
Even more troublesome, many people ignore the early signs of liver damage and take repeated small overdoses on consecutive days or weeks. Liver damage also occurs when people mix multiple medications containing acetaminophen.