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Acetaminophen : Drug Information

What is Acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen is an analgesic and temporarily relieves minor pain caused by muscular aches, headache, backache, minor pain of arthritis, etc. It also helps in reducing your fever as well as pain.

When combined with diphenhydramine and dextromethorphan, acetaminophen can help relieve allergy, cold, cough, and insomnia symptoms.

Acetaminophen may be the treatment of other symptoms not mentioned here. Anyone can use this medicine orally, but sometimes doctors suggest to take intravenously.

Important Information

  • Acetaminophen is not for you if you are suffering from liver disease.
  • Overdosing of Acetaminophen can ultimately damage your liver. Due to this, your death may occur.
  • More than 1000 milligrams are not allowed for adults and teenagers with less than 110 pounds in weight.
  • Children younger than 12 years can not take more than five doses in 24 hours.
  • Avoid using other medication while taking acetaminophen. Other drugs that you used with acetaminophen may also contain it as an ingredient. Taking those types of medicines with acetaminophen can increase the amount of it in your body, and overdosing may occur. Due to this overdosing, you may feel some side-effects, ordinary as well as severe.
  • Consult with your therapist if you have pain in your upper stomach, nausea, itching, loss of appetite, clay-colored stool, dark urine, or jaundice.
  • Immediately stop taking this medicine if you feel skin redness and rashes that spread. Go to your doctor and tell him about these symptoms. Acetaminophen may not be a good option for you if you have these symptoms.

What to know before taking acetaminophen?

  • If you are allergic to acetaminophen, do not use this medicine.
  • If you have severe liver disease, acetaminophen is not an option for you. Avoid using it in this condition. It may permanently damage your liver.
  • Taking this medication without consulting your doctor may put you in a life-threatening situation.
  • If you have liver disease or consume more than three alcoholic beverages every day, then do not take this medicine.
  • Your doctor will decide whether acetaminophen is safe during your pregnancy. During pregnancy, do not take acetaminophen without consulting with your doctor.
  • If you are breastfeeding, do not use it without consulting with your doctor. Acetaminophen may mix into your breast milk and can pass to your baby during breastfeeding.
  • Without consulting with a doctor, do not give this medication to a child below two years old.

How to take acetaminophen?

  • Acetaminophen comes in various forms such as tablets, capsules, chewable tablets, suspension or sodium(liquid), orally disintegrating tablets, and extended-release tablets. You can take all these forms of acetaminophen with food or without food.
  • Acetaminophen also comes as a suppository; you can use it rectally.
  • You can use acetaminophen without a prescription, but we suggest that you do not take it without consulting a doctor.
  • Read carefully all the directions written on the package or prescription label. If you doubt using it, ask your doctor to explain any part you cannot understand.
  • If you are giving this medication to your child, consult with your doctor, or read the package label carefully. Reading the package label will make you sure that acetaminophen is safe for your child.
  • Acetaminophen for adults is entirely different from children, so do not give adults acetaminophen to children.
  • Give a suitable dosage to your child according to the weight of your child. Doses according to different weight and age groups are written on the package label in a chart form.
  • Acetaminophen can treat cough and cold symptoms with a combination of other medications. Consult with your doctor and understand which product is the right fit for your symptom.
  • Before using two or more medications simultaneously, read the product label carefully, especially when these medications come without a prescription.
  • Always use a measuring cup or syringe that comes with the product to measure the accurate acetaminophen dose in suspension or solution form.

Acetaminophen dosage

Consult with your doctor to know about the best daily dosage of acetaminophen based on your age, health status, and body size. Here are some recommended doses that you can generally take.

Usual Adult Dosage of Acetaminophen

The maximum daily dosage of acetaminophen recommended for adults is 4 grams with a recommended 352 to 650 mg dosage every 4 to 6 hours. Every 6 hours, an adult can take 1g of acetaminophen.

Usual Doses for Children

Children from 2 to 12 years old can take 12.5 mg/kg every 4 hours and 15mg/kg every 6 hours.

The maximum single dose for children of this age group is 15mg/kg (upto 750mg).

The maximum daily dosage for children is 75 mg/kg every 24 hours (upto 3,750 mg).

Overdose

If someone takes the acetaminophen in excess, immediately contact a doctor and consult with the doctor about their feelings. Overdosing on this medication can put you in some life-threatening situation, so don’t be careless. Use acetaminophen according to your dosage chart.

The overdosing symptoms of acetaminophen are listed below. If you see one or more symptoms of overdosing, immediately seek medical attention.

The overdosing symptoms are;

  • nausea
  • sweating
  • vomiting
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • loss of appetite
  • extreme tiredness
  • pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • flu-like symptoms

If you have accidentally overdosed on acetaminophen and suffering from overdosing symptoms, immediately seek medical attention or call the Poison Help line number 1-800-222-1222.

Overdosing of Acetaminophen can be fatal.

What to avoid while using acetaminophen?

  • Do not take another cold, pain, allergy, or sleep medicine with acetaminophen. It can raise the level of acetaminophen in your body, and you may feel overdosing symptoms.
  • Drinking alcohol with acetaminophen can increase the risk of liver damage. So do not drink alcohol while you are on Acetaminophen treatment.
  • Always keep the medication out of the reach of children. Keep the medicine tightly closed, at room temperature and away from excess moisture and heat.

Acetaminophen side effects

Acetaminophen can show some adverse effects on some people. These adverse effects are sometimes quite common, but some side-effects are severe. These severe side-effects can put you in a life-threatening situation. Here is a list of common as well as severe side-effects. Read this list carefully and keep in mind if you are taking acetaminophen;

Side effects of acetaminophen include:

  • Disorientation
  • Shortness of breath/cough
  • Dizziness
  • Skin swelling (angioedema)
  • Hives
  • Rash (may itch)
  • Low levels of white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets

Serious side effects of acetaminophen include:

  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis
  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  • Liver failure
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
  • Laryngeal edema
  • Kidney toxicity
  • Liver toxicity/liver failure
  • Hyperammonemia
  • Agranulocytosis
  • Low white blood cell count (leukopenia, neutropenia)
  • Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
  • Low red and white blood cell count and low platelet count (pancytopenia)

What drugs can interact with acetaminophen?

If you are using any other medication, then you should inform your doctor about it. Doing this will help your doctor in your better treatment. The other drugs may interact with acetaminophen and can harm your body. So be careful before taking any other medication with acetaminophen.

Here is a list of some medications that can interact with acetaminophen. Without consulting your doctor, taking these medications with acetaminophen can harm you badly; even death may occur.

  • axitinib
  • busulfan
  • daclizumab
  • dapsone topical
  • eltrombopag
  • exenatide injectable suspension
  • flibanserin
  • imatinib
  • isoniazid
  • exenatide injectable solution
  • ivacaftor
  • lixisenatide
  • lomitapide
  • mipomersen
  • tetracaine
  • warfarin

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