This week I saw something new that may change how your pain will be managed during your next hospital stay. After nearly 60 years of Tylenol as you know it...there is a new player on the market:
Why you might ask did it take that long for them to crush the pills and put them into saline? Good question, but it has actually been around for quite along time, under the name Paracetamol, and has been approved for use in Europe for years. So perhaps the better question is: What took so long for the FDA to approve it for use here?
From what I have gathered, the FDA has balked over the years because it can be easier to overdose when using the injectable form. Not that it is anymore potent, just that it is easier to give a rapid dose, which can overwhelm the liver into failure. Interestingly, the number one cause of liver failure in the U.S. is from tylenol misuse.
There is undoubtedly a lot more to the FDA's prior concerns, and I am not sure what exactly this new medication has done to prove itself safer. Regardless, it is now approved for use now under the name OFIRMEV (I know, crappy name).
What so nice about it? Well, it will virtually take the place of narcotic pain relievers as firstline therapy straight out of surgery when one is not awake enough to take oral meds (incidentally how I saw it used today). From the anesthesiologists that I have worked with that have used it, most feel strongly that it works very well to keep initial post-operative pain low and overall decreases the need to turn to heavier duty narcotic medications like Fentanyl, Dilaudid, or Morphine itself. Remember to ask about it the next time you go for surgery, to see if it is in use at your hospital yet.
One more thing: Cost?.....It is 100x's the price of a single dose of oral Tylenol!! What??? Well, that might sound like a lot, but that is actually only $10/dose. Oral Tylenol is just that dirt cheap, folks. I guarantee it is actually a cheaper option than most injectable narcotics being used today. Let me know if it happens to be given to you at some point in the future. I would love to hear what your experience was with it.
FYI: Package Insert