More than 1,500 Americans died in the last decade after accidentally taking too much of a drug renowned for its safety: acetaminophen, one of the nation’s most popular pain relievers, according to a new investigation by ProPublica.

In "Use Only as Directed," ProPublica reporters  Jeff Gerth and T. Christian Miller write:  "Acetaminophen – the active ingredient in Tylenol – is considered safe when taken at recommended doses. Tens of millions of people use it weekly with no ill effect. But in larger amounts, especially in combination with alcohol, the drug can damage or even destroy the liver."

The FDA has delayed or failed to adopt measures designed to reduce deaths and injuries from acetaminophen. The agency began a comprehensive review to set safety rules for acetaminophen in the 1970s, but still has not finished, according to the investigation.

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