Today’s Headlines: Acetaminophen Warning, Green Tea and Heavy Drinking

FDA warns against high-dose prescription acetaminophen: Due to concerns about the potential for liver damage, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked doctors to “stop prescribing combination medications that contain more than 325 milligrams of acetaminophen per pill.” Acetaminophen is found in many common pain medications, including Tylenol. The FDA had previously asked drug-makers to stop making combination medications containing higher doses of acetaminophen, and over half have complied. The government agency will now begin to withdraw approval for remaining medications that exceed this dose. “Overdoses from acetaminophen send 56,000 people to emergency rooms and kill about 500 each year.” (USA Today)

Green tea disease-fighting compounds may weaken blood pressure drugs: Though it’s packed with antioxidants that may “reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and various types of cancer, including cancers of the breast, lung and skin,” green tea may have an unexpected disadvantage. A new study found that green tea may “prevent the body from absorbing a drug used to treat high blood pressure, probably due to one of the antioxidants for which it is prized.” The small study showed that green tea lowered blood concentrations of the high blood pressure medication nadolol, a beta blocker, by 76%. The researchers suggested that patients taking nadolol should likely avoid green tea. Further study is needed to determine whether other medications could be similarly affected. (Los Angeles Times)

Heavy drinking in mid-life men speeds memory loss, study finds: “Middle-aged men who drink more than two and a half drinks a day may speed their memory loss by nearly six years,” according to a new study. Researchers tested 7,513 British civil servants on reasoning skills, verbal skills and memory every four years, starting in 1997. They found that men who had 2.5 drinks or more per day fared worse in every category, especially in memory. “Women were not nearly as affected, though women who abstained from alcohol for 10 years showed a faster cognitive decline than moderate female drinkers.” The CDC defines moderate drinking as up to one drink a day for women and up to two a day for men. (NBC News)