Tylenol, a brand name for acetaminophen, is an over-the-counter pain medication 2. Tylenol is also an ingredient in cold and sinus preparations and prescription narcotics. Doses of up to 4,000 mg a day are considered safe for most people, but people with existing liver damage should take less. Doses of 7,000 mg per day constitute an overdose for most people, states MedlinePlus, a service of the National Institutes of Health 3. Dosages in young children are weight based; 1,000 mg a day may constitute an overdose for a young child, according to MayoClinic.com.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Side Effects in Normal Adults
Side effects in adults taking 1,000 mg a day of Tylenol occur rarely. Lightheadedness occurs most commonly, the Encyclopedia of Surgery states 1. Severe liver damage generally requires ingestion of 15,000 mg in a person weighing around 150 lbs., Drugs.com notes, but liver damage has rarely occurred at lower doses. Fasting may lower the amount needed to induce liver damage. Gallbladder pain and inflammation or pancreatic inflammation occurs rarely. Taking two or more tablets of Tylenol per day, 1,000 mg or more, long-term may increase the risk of kidney damage, Drugs. com reports. Skin rashes also occur rarely in normal doses. Two cases of low blood pressure have been reported at normal doses. Rarely, a drop in platelet count occurs at normal doses.
- Side effects in adults taking 1,000 mg a day of Tylenol occur rarely.
Side Effects in Infants
Dangers of Tylenol PM
Children should take no more than 91 mg per pound of Tylenol in a 24-hour period, MayoClinic.com reports. A child weighing 10 lbs. should take no more than 910 mg in a single day, but a child this small is probably less than three months old and should not be given Tylenol without specific instructions from medical personnel under any circumstances. Symptoms of Tylenol overdose include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and lethargy. Symptoms of Tylenol overdose may not appear for 12 hours or more after ingestion, MedlinePlus explains 3.
- Children should take no more than 91 mg per pound of Tylenol in a 24-hour period, MayoClinic.com reports.
- Symptoms of Tylenol overdose may not appear for 12 hours or more after ingestion, MedlinePlus explains 3.
Side Effects in Alcoholics
Tylenol can cause liver damage in large quantities. People who already have severe liver failure can’t process the normal daily dose of Tylenol and may experience symptoms at low doses. People who drink two or more drinks a day regularly should not take more than 2,500 mg of Tylenol a day, Baylor College of Medicine warns. Liver toxicity symptoms include:
Symptoms may include gastrointestinal effects such as gallbladder pain and acute pancreatitis.
- Tylenol can cause liver damage in large quantities.
- People who already have severe liver failure can’t process the normal daily dose of Tylenol and may experience symptoms at low doses.
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- Encyclopedia of Surgery: Acetaminophen
- Drugs.com: Acetaminophen
- MedlinePlus: Acetaminophen Overdose
- MayoClinic.com: Acetaminophen and Children: Why Dosage Matters
- Baylor College of Medicine: Normal Acetaminophen Doses Can Trigger Liver Failure in Alcoholics
- Hayward KL, Powell EE, Irvine KM, Martin JH. Can paracetamol (acetaminophen) be administered to patients with liver impairment? Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2016;81(2):210–222. doi:10.1111/bcp.12802
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury. Acetaminophen. Updated January 28, 2016.
- Budnitz DS, Lovegrove MC, Crosby AE. Emergency department visits for overdoses of acetaminophen-containing products. Am J Prev Med. 2011;40(6):585-92. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2011.02.026
A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.