Tylenol is the brand name of the drug acetaminophen. It is an antipyretic and analgesic drug. When used in recommended dosages, Tylenol is relatively free of side effects. However, excessive doses can cause kidney failure and liver damage.
Tylenol is used to relieve pain and fever from viral infections, the common cold, arthritis and menstrual cramping. It is recommended for people who are allergic to aspirin.
Regular use of large doses of Tylenol over a long period can cause liver damage. According to WebMD, the maximum dose for adults is 4,000 mg per day. Taking more than the maximum dose may cause fatal liver damage.
Women who plan to breastfeed should consult their doctor before using Tylenol because it passes into breast milk. People with phenylketonuria (PKU) or diabetes should consult a doctor because Tylenol may contain aspartame or sugar.
Rare, but serious, side effects of Tylenol use include jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage, low blood sugar, change in blood composition, coma and convulsion.
In the case of Tylenol overdose, there is no home treatment--only emergency care. An overdose can lead to liver failure and death in a few days. WedMD recommends immediately contacting an emergency room or local poison control center.
- WebMD: Tylenol Oral
- The Pill Book: Harold M. Silverman, Pharm. D; 2008
- Photo Credit Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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