In 2003, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported more than 127,000 exposures involving acetaminophen (acetyl-para-amino-phenol or APAP). Of these exposures, 65,000 patients received treatment in a medical facility, and 16,500 received N-acetylcysteine (NAC). There were 214 deaths involving overdose where an analgesic agent was thought to be primarily responsible. In 62 of these cases, APAP was the single agent involved [
]. APAP toxicity is also a major cause of fulminant hepatic failure (FHF) and is implicated in as many as 39% of cases presenting to tertiary care hospitals [
- Watson W.A.
- Litovitz T.L.
- Klein-Schwartz W.
- et al.
2003 annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic Exposure Surveillance System.
Am J Emerg Med. 2004; 22: 335-404
- Ostapowicz G.
- Fontana R.J.
- Schiodt F.V.
- et al.
Results of a prospective study of acute liver failure at 17 tertiary care centers in the United States.
Ann Intern Med. 2002; 137: 947-954
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Portions of this article were previously published in Holstege CP, Rusyniak DE: Medical Toxicology. 89:6, Med Clin North Am, 2005; with permission.
© 2006 Elsevier Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.