Taking down Tylenol

Johnson & Johnson has been dragging its feet on Tylenol for years now -- and instead of cutting back on its dangerous main ingredient, acetaminophen, they've been pumping it into every product imaginable.

Cold meds, fever reducers, painkillers, arthritis pills, allergy drugs, sleep aids -- you name it, it's really just acetaminophen in a different-colored package.

All that acetaminophen in everything has turned the drug into the nation's leading cause of liver failure -- and even the feds have taken notice, urging new limits on the amounts used in common drugs.

So with the FDA breathing down its neck, J&J has finally taken action -- and it's just about the tiniest possible action they could have taken: The company has literally changed a single digit -- one number -- on the label, and it's not even in the ingredients section.

It's in the instructions that most people never bother to read anyway, where the maximum dose is being lowered to six pills a day instead of eight.

That's it, they're done. Crisis averted. America, you're safe -- and you can thank Johnson & Johnson for that.

What hogwash.

Here's the reality of the situation: Acetaminophen is single-handedly responsible for thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths due to liver failure every single year.

But that's not the only problem.

This drug can also kill your kidneys, stop your heart, and even leave you in a coma. Throw in all the "usual" side effects -- nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, the sweats and such -- and you don't have a drug anymore. You've got a poison.

I don't care if you take eight pills, six pills, two pills or one pill a day... it's still poison, and if you take it with any regularity you're putting your life on the line.

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: Treat Tylenol and every other painkiller like the powerful drugs they are. Use them only in cases of serious pain, in the smallest possible dose and for the shortest length of time.

Now why can't J&J just write that on the label?