Tylenol, also known as acetaminophen, is a drug which is commonly administered for the treatment of pain and fever.
In the US, the drug is a common suicide strategy among young people. This is because the drug has serious side effects when overdosed or used inappropriately.
It is important for users to use the drug judiciously and prudently. The following are top 10 facts every Tylenol/acetaminophen user must know.
Facts About Tylenol
1. Tylenol is a pain reliever and fever reducer
Tylenol is therapeutically used for relieving pain and fever. Some of the common pains treated with Tylenol include arthritis pain and headaches.
In fact, the drug is used as an alternative for Aspirin.
In medicine, the drug is placed under a group of drugs known as analgesics and anti-pyretics. The drug has no known anti-inflammatory characteristics.
2. Alcoholic beverages are NOT allowed
The use of Tylenol together with alcoholic beverages can be damaging to the health of the user.
When mixed with alcohol, Tylenol interferes with the detoxification function of the liver. The effects of such an incident can be fatal, especially if the user is a heavy drinker.
3. Tylenol overdose requires immediate medical attention
When overdosed, Tylenol can cause serious side effects to the user.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following: vomiting, sweating, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, extreme fatigue, stomach pains
4. If used correctly, Tylenol is safe
The side effects of Tylenol are rare especially when directions are strictly followed.
It is important for users to take the drug as prescribed by physicians in order to avoid adverse effects such as liver damage.
5. Side effects of Tylenol can be serious if untreated
Acetaminophen has some side effects which can be severe if left untreated. These side effects may display as allergic reactions that can develop into serious complications when treatment procedures are not provided.
Allergic side effects may include breathing difficulties, swallowing difficulties, swelling, itching, rashes, hoarseness and hives. It is important for users to report any of these symptoms.
6. Tylenol can be used during pregnancy
According to the FDA classification protocols, Tylenol is categorized under Pregnancy category B group of drugs.
This means that the drug can be used safely during pregnancy but with caution.
While the drug may be safe during pregnancy, it is important for women to know that their breast milk may contain the drug during the medication process.
7. Tylenol prescriptions are used for a specified period
Due to the high risk of side effects associated with Acetaminophen, the drug is used under strict provisions.
For self-management of pain, the drug should be taken for a period of up to ten days. If the pain persists, the user should seek immediate medical attention.
While self-treatment of fever is a course of taking Tylenol prescriptions for up to three days.
8. Acetaminophen formulations are contained in several products
There are up to a hundred formulations of Acetaminophen which are used for pain and fever treatment.
Some examples of Acetaminophen formulations include Dristan, Midol and Ultracet. Due to the availability of acetaminophen in several unique formulations, the chances of accidental overdoses are likely.
It is important for users to disclose their medical history to their physicians during medical consultations to avoid overdose and other related problems.
9. Is Tylenol a blood thinner / anti-coagulant
While Tylenol is not a blood thinner, it may interact with blood thinners to form complex substances that interfere with the normal functioning of the tissues – blood included.
In essence, Tylenol contains a small amount of aspirin which may react with blood thinners.
Users should disclose all the drugs they are taking to avoid risks of excessive bleeding and other related side effects.
10. Tylenol dosage
Adults should not take more than 4g of Acetaminophen per day. Children should not be given more than 90mg of the drug per kg of body weight per day.
Due to the high risk of side effects associated with overdose of acetaminophen, drug manufacturers have standardized the dosage of the drug, for convenience and suitability purposes.
Again, adult users should not exceed the maximum allowable dosage of 4g acetaminophen per day and children should not be given more than 90mg per kg of body weight per day. When all is said and done, Acetaminophen is safe, provided it is used according to its provisions and requirements.
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