Americans Are in Pain but Smart About Pain Relief, New Research Shows

Awareness of acetaminophen safe use and the risks of using too much remains high, ongoing education critical to continued progress
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WASHINGTON, DC  — New research released today by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation reveals Americans are in a lot of pain, but consumer awareness remains high when it comes to safely and effectively using over-the-counter (OTC) pain-reliever products containing the common drug ingredient acetaminophen, and knowing how to avoid the risks of accidental overdose and liver damage.

First conducted in 2010, the 2022 nationwide tri-annual survey marks the fifth time the CHPA Educational Foundation has surveyed consumers about their knowledge of acetaminophen safe use and the risks of misuse. The online survey also examined key measures of consumer behavior, such as reading the label for dosing directions and understanding the risks associated with exceeding the recommended daily dose.

Key findings of the 2022 survey include:

  • Two out of three (66%) respondents reported that they currently suffer from ongoing pain, up from 54% in 2019

  • Nearly 80% of respondents reported their usage of over-the-counter pain relievers has either stayed the same (49%) or gone up (30%) over the past two years

  • Nearly 90% of respondents “always check the label of acetaminophen products to find the maximum daily dose” (88% in 2022, up from 85% in 2019)

  • More respondents agree “two different acetaminophen medicines should never be taken together” (64% in 2022, up from 56% in 2019)

  • More respondents agree that they “carefully consider how many acetaminophen pills or doses to take” (91% in 2022, up from 89% in 2019)

“With self-reported pain on the rise, consumers are turning to safe pain relief options now more than ever. It is encouraging to see consumers understanding how to safely choose and use products containing acetaminophen, and we know that educational initiatives have played a critical role in this increasing awareness,” said Mary Leonard, managing director, CHPA Educational Foundation. “These efforts are bolstered by our long-standing participation in the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition (AAC), which established the ‘Know Your Dose’ campaign in 2011 to educate consumers on how to safely use medicines that contain acetaminophen. We are thrilled to see that education appears to be working.”

The AAC is made up of leading health, healthcare provider, and consumer organizations, of which the CHPA Educational Foundation is a founding member. Over the past eight years, the Know Your Dose campaign has reached millions of consumers and healthcare providers with safe use messages and free educational resources in both English and Spanish. 

When it comes to increasing awareness about these educational resources, the timing for the release of this year’s research is especially fitting given that June is National Safety month, a time of year that reinforces the ways in which consumers can practice safe medicine use to avoid unwanted or unexpected side effects.

“More than 600 different prescription and OTC medicines contain acetaminophen,” said Leonard. “These medicines are safe and effective when used as directed, but it is critical that consumers read the label and take only one medicine containing acetaminophen at a time. The CHPA Educational Foundation and our partners on the AAC welcome National Safety Month as an opportunity to further highlight the importance of safe medicine use and remain committed to our continued public education efforts surrounding acetaminophen safety.”

See related infographic here.

About the Survey

The CHPA Educational Foundation commissioned David Binder Research to conduct an online survey of 1,250 consumers who have taken APAP OTC pain medication or APAP Rx pain medication in the past six months. The survey was conducted in both English and Spanish from April 4 to April 10, 2022.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to make smart self-care decisions by providing information and guidance on how to safely use, store, and dispose of OTC medicines and dietary supplements. Its mission is to serve as the trusted source of information on the responsible use of consumer healthcare products. Visit or for more information.