The generic name of an over-the-counter analgesic used to relieve fever, headache, and other pain. It is most commonly known by the trade name Tylenol. Chemical formula:

C8H9NO2

I will never take acetaminophen again as long as I live.

Of course, this may have something to do with the perils of using Tylenol as a suicide method, which alex.tan describes quite succinctly. He fails to mention that emergency room nurses hate failed suicides and put sugar in the activated charcoal, making it the most vile thing in the world to drink.

See also: Advil, aspirin, analgesic, ibuprofen, Tylenol, or the UK equivalent of acetaminophen, paracetamol.

Acetaminophen is also known as Panadol or Paracetamol in some countries. Typical dosage is up to 1000mg up to four times per day for an adult and for children give 10-15 mg per kg up to four times per day (you can use the mg/kg calculation for adults too if you wish).

Caution: Overdosing on acetaminophen is a great way to ensure that you die of liver failure. This is one of the lesser known dangers of Panadol/Tylenol. You only need about 10 grams or so (not a lot of tablets) of the stuff over a short period of time (within a day or so) to ensure that you need to be admitted to a hospital emergency room to have some chance of survival.

This is serious stuff. It means that an adult could have liver failure just by ingesting 20 tablets of Tylenol or Panadol or Paracetamol containing 500mg of acetaminophen each. A child or infant will need an even smaller dose to cause a similar problem.

It is precisely because this common painkiller can be lethal when a small multiple of the normal dose is taken that hospitals will always include a blood acetaminophen level if a patient who attempted suicide by ingestion of pills is brought in. Even if the story sounds reasonably clear that the pills taken were some other substance, just the possibility that the patient could have taken a big bunch of these tablets is a death sentence if the antidote, N-acetylcysteine is not given within a few hours of the lethal dose.

Treatment for overdose involves inducing vomiting (emesis), laxatives and activated charcoal. The antidote given is intravenous N-acetylcysteine. Most overdoses are of children who take adult doses with parental ignorance or without parental knowledge.

Despite its lethality in large doses, acetaminophen toxicity is not recommended as an avenue for suicide, unless you take heaps of sedatives to go along with it because dying from liver failure can be extremely painful.

Alcohol and acetaminophen are a deadly combination. Even if you only consume moderate amounts of alcohol, you should avoid this analgesic. Your liver, which detoxifies your blood, is already compromised from the use of alcohol. Acetameinophen creates even more of the toxic metabolite and can increase your risk of liver cirrhosis or failure.

Dr. Peter Draganov of the University of Florida, reports that the risk is most acute within 24 hours of alcohol consumption. So make sure your hangover remedy doesn't include this pain reliever.

And of course the correct way to pronounce it is:

a-seet-a-MIN-oh-fen

Although Tylenol is sold as a pain reliever and fever reducer, it can also be used for other purposes as well. I used this medicine for my seasonal allergies. This and Claritin works great for it. However, you may be allergic to acetaminophen.

There is a long list of precautions you should know before taking this, and contacting a doctor would be sensible. To name a few: as with many other medications, it is dangerous to mix with alcohol. Do not take this if you are breastfeeding or have liver problems. No one should take more than 4,000 mg per day, and for children, the quantity should be much less.

Properties:

  • Analgesic -- A medication that reduces or eliminates pain
  • Anitpyretic -- Reducing or tending to reduce fever.

Common Dosage: 500 milligrams (mg) every three or four hours.

May interact negatively with the following:

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