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Acetaminophen

Pain Relief

Brand names:

Tylenol®, Panadol®, and others

Other names:

Paracetamol

Often used for:

Pain and fever

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What is Acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever reducer. Acetaminophen is available over the counter (OTC) without a prescription. Some products may use a combination of acetaminophen and other medicines. 

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May be taken as a tablet, capsule, caplet, chewable tablet, or dissolvable tablet by mouth

 
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May be taken as a liquid by mouth

 
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May be given as a suppository in the rectum

 
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May be given as a liquid into a vein

 
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Possible Side Effects

Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, hives, itching, chills, fever, headache, muscle ache, shortness of breath, coughing, tightness in the throat, swelling of the face or neck.

Not all patients who take acetaminophen will experience these side effects. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist. 

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Follow the dosing instructions carefully. Do not take more often or in greater amounts than recommended.
  • Too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage or other health problems. 
  • Check medicine labels. Other medicines, such as cough or cold medicines, may contain acetaminophen. Using them together could be harmful.
  • Acetaminophen may affect some lab tests. Let your health care provider know about all medicines your child takes.
  • Acetaminophen is a fever reducer. Let your health care provider know if your child has recently taken this medicine. Temperature readings to assess fever may not be accurate for up to 6 hours after a dose of acetaminophen.
  • If your child has phenylketonuria (PKU), talk to your doctor. Some acetaminophen products have phenylalanine. 
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding. 
  • Patients should not drink alcohol while taking this medicine.

Acetaminophen at Home:

  • Acetaminophen may be taken with or without food.  
  • Chewable tablets: Chew or crush chewable tablets before swallowing. 
  • Oral-disintegrating tablets: Allow to melt on the tongue and then swallow with a sip of liquid.
  • Extended-release tablets: Swallow whole. Do not break, crush, or chew. Take extended-release tablets with a full glass of water.
  • Liquid medicine: Shake well before use. Measure liquid doses carefully. Use the measuring device that comes with the medicine. Let your pharmacist know if you need a measuring device. 
  • Suppository: Suppositories are for rectal use only. Remove the suppository from the foil wrapper. Wet the suppository and put the suppository in the rectum pointed end first. Use gentle pressure to insert.  
  • Give a missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time. 
  • Store at room temperature. 
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • Follow instructions for safe storage and disposal.