Tylenol Dosage: Tylenol Side Effects

Tylenol dosage can be confusing as it may change depending on whether you are treating pain, fever or headaches. The generic name is acetominophen. Unlike ibuprofen, it is not one of the NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They are considered a separate class of drugs from steroids as they have a different mechanism of action on inflammation than steroids, and have less side effects in general. They effectively work in many parts of the body to reduce and even stop inflammation and also effect parts of the brain releasing factors that cause inflammation.

Tylenol on the other hand is not an anti-inflammatory, but is a pain killer and reduces fever. It also does not cause Reye Syndrome which is why it is a good choice for children. Reye Syndrome can occur rarely in children who are exposed to aspirin when they have a fever.

Because it is such a good pain reliever, many people will use it to treat migraine headache symptoms that are not severe or disabling.

What Is My Tylenol Dosage?

Tylenol dosage can depend on several factors. First of all, if you are generally healthy, you may follow the instructions on the package for dosing. Over the counter tablets and capsules are 500mg each. The amounts are as follows:

Adults: 500-1000mg (1-2 doses)every 6 hours as needed for pain, max 4000mg/day.
Children age 2-12: 10-15mg/kg of weight every 6 hours as needed for pain or fever. A kilogram is 2.2 lbs so a 50lb child could have 320 mg every 6 hours, with a daily maximum of 1200mg for this weight. It is best to use the liquid form for children. Do not treat pain for more than 5 days or a fever for more that 3 days without calling a doctor. This is for both children and adults.
Children under age 2: Children this age should not have any medications without the supervision of a pediatrician.

Acetominophen can take 20-30 minutes to start having an effect and the peak effect occurs at about 2 hours after tylenol dosage.

If you have a history of headaches or migraine, do not take any over the counter pain medication more than twice a week for headaches. More frequent use can lead to analgesic rebound headaches. The "sinus" formulation may have pseudofed in it which over time can increase blood pressure, cause insomnia and worsen headache profiles.

Although tylenol dosage is generally safe, there are conditions where it should not be used.

Tylenol Side Effects

Tylenol side effects are generally very minimal. Unlike other over the counter medications, there usually is no upset stomach which makes it a good alternative to Advil or Aleve.

There are a few chronic medical conditions to be concerned with. Tylenol side effects can include problems with people taking other medications or have conditions involving the liver. Acetominophen is metabolized through the liver and can effect other medication levels.

Conditions where you should NOT take Advil or Motrin(ibuprofen):

  • Daily use of alcohol, more than 3 drinks per day
  • Chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • Daily use of carbamazepine
  • Known or suspected allergy to the drug
  • Daily use of Warfarin, Coumadin or any anti-coagulant therapy
  • Daily use of isoniazid
  • Known or suspected allergy to acetominophen

Common Tylenol Side Effects

Rashes. This is usually an indication of drug allergy (1-3% incidence) so the medication must be stopped immediately. If swelling of the lips or throat occurs, take bendryl immediately (if not allergic to that too!) and get to a doctor or emergency services. Swelling in the throat means swelling in the larynx and you run the risk of not being able to breath.

Kidney effects. All available studie have shown it is not nephrotoxic (toxic to the kidneys).

Cardiovascular effects. No obvious effects on the cardiovascular system.

Nervous system effects. No obvious effects on the nervous system.

Liver effects. See above. This is especially important if you have hepatic fibrosis (mild scarring in the liver) or cirrhosis (permanent nodules of scar tissue). While this can happen from medical conditions, the most common cause is alcoholism. Tylenol and any acetominophen products should be avoided in alcoholics.

Use In Pregnancy

Pregnancy This drug has been used for over 40 years as the drug of choice for pain relief when pregnant. It has been shown to be safe for mother and child, but as always, discuss this first with your doctor. If possible, medications should be avoided during pregnancy.

As you can see, tylenol side effects are generally mild and when tylenol dosage is appropriate, it is generally a safe drug.

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