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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

Allergic reaction causing rash, itching, hives, swelling, or breathing difficulty; yellow-tinged skin and eyes (indicating liver damage). Seek medical assistance immediately.
Common

No common side effects have been reported.
Less Common

Sore throat and fever (not present before treatment and not caused by the condition being treated), extreme fatigue or weakness, unexplained bleeding or bruising, blood in urine, painful, decreased, or frequent urination.
Acetaminophen


Drug Class:
Analgesic; antipyretic (fever reducer)

Available OTC?: Yes

Available Generic?: Yes

Tylenol Regular Strength 325 mg
(McNeil)
Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Capsules, caplets, tablets, powder, liquid and suppositories

Why Prescribed
To treat mild to moderate pain and fever, including simple headaches, muscle aches, and mild forms of arthritis. Acetaminophen is useful for patients who cannot take aspirin, such as those taking anticoagulants or suffering from gastrointestinal ulcers or bleeding disorders.

How It Works
Acetaminophen appears to interfere with the action of prostaglandins, substances in the body that cause inflammation and make nerves more sensitive to pain impulses. It also relieves fever, probably by acting on the heat-regulating center of the brain.

Range and Frequency
For adults and teenagers: 325 to 650 mg every four to six hours, or 1 g, 3 to 4 times a day, as needed. Extended-release caplets: Take two every eight hours. Maximum dosage with short-term therapy should not exceed 4 g a day; with long-term therapy it should not exceed 2.6 g a day unless otherwise prescribed by your doctor. For children 12 years and under: Consult a pediatrician for proper dose. Liquid form may be recommended for young children.

Onset of Effect
Within 15 to 30 minutes.

Duration of Action
three to four hours; eight hours for extended-release form.

Dietary Advice
Take it with water 30 minutes before or two hours after meals. It may be taken with milk to minimize stomach upset. If you are on a salt-restricted diet, be sure to account for the sodium present in the powder form of acetaminophen.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat and direct light. Refrigerate liquid forms (to make them more palatable) and rectal suppositories. Do not allow the medication to freeze.

Missed Dose
Take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
Unless directed otherwise by your doctor, limit use to five days for children under 12 and 10 days for adults.

Prolonged Use
Prolonged use may lead to liver problems, kidney problems, or anemia in some patients. Talk to your doctor about the need for periodic physical examinations and laboratory tests.

Over 60
Adverse reactions may be more likely and more severe in older patients; lower doses may be warranted.

Driving and Hazardous Work
No problems are expected.

Alcohol
Avoid alcohol; combining the two can cause serious liver problems. Patients with a history of alcohol abuse should not use acetaminophen except under close supervision by a doctor.

Pregnancy
No problems have been reported. Consult your doctor if you are or plan to become pregnant.

Breast Feeding
No problems have been reported.

Infants and Children
No problems are expected; however, some formulations are sweetened with aspartame, which should not be consumed by children with phenylketonuria.

Overdose Symptoms
Nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, abdominal pain, excessive sweating, confusion, drowsiness or exhaustion, stomach tenderness, heartbeat irregularities, yellowing of the skin and eyes.

What to Do
If you suspect an overdose, seek medical aid immediately, even if no symptoms are present. Steps must be taken promptly to avoid potentially fatal liver damage.

Drug Interactions
Consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking anticoagulants (such as warfarin), aspirin, an NSAID, barbiturates, carbamazepine, hydantoins, rifampin, sulfinpyrazone, isoniazid, nicotine, or zidovudine.

Food Interactions
No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions
Consult your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, phenylketonuria, or a history of alcohol abuse.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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