What Is Acetaminophen?
Acetaminophen is an ingredient found in many over-the-counter medications to help relieve moderate pain associated with headaches, muscle aches, and other conditions. The most common version of this medication is Tylenol. You can find acetaminophen sold by many different brands and it comes in many forms including pills, capsules, chewable tablets, quick-dissolving tablets, and more. It may also be included in some liquid cold medications and liquid medications for children.
How Does Acetaminophen Work?
Acetaminophen is an analgesic (pain reliever) and an antipyretic (fever reducer). It works to help elevate the pain threshold and reduce fever by working on the heat-regulating center of the brain by telling the brain to lower your body temperature when it is too high. Acetaminophen is effective, but it is not recommended for severe pain.
How Much Acetaminophen Can I Take?
Your dosage of acetaminophen will depend on your age, the strength of the medication, and the dosing directions according to the manufacturer's instructions. Do not take it for fever for more than three days, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Adults should not take acetaminophen for more than 10 days in a row, and children no more than five days in a row. If you experience an acetaminophen overdose, contact a poison control center immediately at 1-800-222-1222 and get medical attention right away.
Does Acetaminophen Make You Sleepy?
On its own, acetaminophen will not make you sleepy. However, there are some formulas that contain additional ingredients, such as an antihistamine, that may help you fall asleep. If your moderate pain is interfering with your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep, look for "PM" versions of acetaminophen that may help.
How Long Does Acetaminophen Last?
The effects of acetaminophen will vary depending on the dose that you take. Adults should feel relief for four hours with a 325 to 600 mg dose, and many take 500 mg every eight hours when taking an immediate-release version. For extended-release caplets, the dose should be approximately 1300 mg every eight hours. Oral doses for children depend on the child's age and weight and will typically last between six to eight hours. You can also find a variety of children’s acetaminophen products at CVS Pharmacy.
Can You Take Acetaminophen with Ibuprofen?
Many people think that acetaminophen and ibuprofen are two similar drugs because they are often used for the same things. They are both great for reducing pain as well as helping to bring down a fever. The fact is, however, that these two drugs work in very different ways. While acetaminophen works by reducing the pain signals that get through to the brain, ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). The fact that these two drugs work in different ways means that you can take them both at the same time without the risk of overdosing. In fact, for people who are experiencing long-lasting pain, it is often recommended by doctors that they stagger doses of each of these medicines. For example, each drug normally recommends that you take a dose every six hours as long as it is needed. You could take acetaminophen first, then three hours later, take ibuprofen. By continuing this dosing schedule, you will be taking one medication every three hours, which can help to give you more consistent relief from symptoms.
Can You Take Acetaminophen while Pregnant?
Acetaminophen is widely regarded as one of the safest drugs on the market today, but many people still worry about whether they should take it while pregnant. It is always a good idea to be extra careful with any drug while you are pregnant, and talking to your doctor about your specific situation is recommended. That being said, acetaminophen is the most commonly recommended pain reliever for pregnant women today. It has been studied extensively, and in the vast majority of situations, this drug is perfectly safe to take while you are with child.
Acetaminophen for Fever
Acetaminophen is one of the most commonly taken drugs in the world. It has long been used to treat pain as well as reduce fever. This makes it a great choice for those who are not feeling well due to a cold, the flu, or other illnesses. Since acetaminophen has been taken billions of times over the last several generations, it is generally considered to be one of the safer medications on the market today. You can find acetaminophen under several names, including the very popular Tylenol. Acetaminophen is also one of the main active ingredients in Motrin brand pain relievers. One great thing about acetaminophen is that you can take it for pain, for a fever, or for both. If you find that you have an elevated temperature, you can safely use acetaminophen to help bring it down even if you are not also experiencing a headache or body aches.
Acetaminophen Side Effects
There are no common side effects associated with acetaminophen, and allergic reactions are rare. However, if you notice an unusual rash, itching or swelling of the face, tongue or throat, or if you have trouble breathing or feel dizzy, get medical help right away.