Brand Names: Aceta,
Actamin, Anacin-3, Apacet, Aspirin Free Anacin, Atasol, Banesin,
Dapa, Datril Extra-Strength,
Feverall, Genapap, Genebs, Liquiprin, Neopap, Oraphen-PD,
Panadol, Phenaphen, Redutemp, Snaplets-FR, Suppap, Tapanol,
Drug Class: Analgesic;
antipyretic (fever reducer)
Available in: Capsules,
caplets, tablets, powder, liquid, suppositories
Available OTC? Yes
As Generic? Yes
reaction causing rash, itching, hives, swelling, or breathing
difficulty; yellow-tinged skin and eyes (indicating liver damage).
Seek medical assistance
common side effects have been reported.
Less Common: Sore
throat and fever (not present before treatment and not caused
by the condition being treated), extreme fatigue or weakness,
or bruising, blood in urine, painful, decreased, or frequent urination.
To treat mild to moderate pain and fever, including
simple headaches, muscle aches, and mild forms of arthritis.
Acetaminophen is useful for patients who cannot take aspirin,
such as those taking anticoagulants or suffering from gastro-intestinal
ulcers or bleeding disorders.
How the Drug Works
Acetaminophen appears to interfere with the action
of prostaglandins, substances in the body that cause inflammation
and make nerves more sensitive to pain impulses. It also relieves
fever, probably by acting on the heat-regulating center of the
For adults and teenagers: 325 to 650 mg every 4
to 6 hours, or 1 g, 3 to 4 times a day, as needed. Extended-release
caplets: Take 2 every 8 hours. Maximum dosage with short-term
therapy should not exceed 4 g a day; with long-term therapy it
should not exceed 2.6 g a day unless otherwise prescribed by
your doctor. For children 12 years and under: Consult a pediatrician
for proper dose. Liquid form may be recommended for young children.
Onset of Effect
Within 15 to 30 minutes.
Duration of Action
3 to 4 hours; 8 hours for extended-release form.
Take it with water 30 minutes before or 2 hours
after meals. It may be taken with milk to minimize stomach upset.
If you are on a salt-restricted diet, be sure to account for
the sodium present in the powder form of acetaminophen.
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat
and direct light. Refrigerate liquid forms (to make them more
palatable) and rectal suppositories. Do not allow the medication
If You Miss a Dose
Take it as soon as you remember. If it is near
the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your
regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.
Stopping the Drug
Unless directed otherwise by your doctor, limit
use to 5 days for children under 12 and 10 days for adults.
Prolonged use may lead to liver problems, kidney
problems, or anemia in some patients. Talk to your doctor about
the need for periodic physical examinations and laboratory tests.
Over 60: Adverse
reactions may be more likely and more severe in older patients;
lower doses may be warranted.
Driving and Hazardous Work: No
problems are expected.
Alcohol: Avoid alcohol;
combining the two can cause serious liver problems. Patients
with a history of alcohol abuse should not use acetaminophen
except under close supervision by a doctor.
Pregnancy: No problems
have been reported. Consult your doctor if you are or plan
to become pregnant.
Breast Feeding: No
problems have been reported.
Infants and Children: No
problems are expected; however, some formulations are sweetened
with aspartame, which should not be consumed by children with
vomiting, appetite loss, abdominal pain, excessive sweating,
confusion, drowsiness or exhaustion, stomach tenderness, heartbeat
irregularities, yellowing of the skin and eyes.
What to Do: If you
suspect an overdose, seek medical aid immediately, even if
no symptoms are present. Steps must be taken promptly to avoid
potentially fatal liver damage.
Consult your doctor for specific advice if you
are taking anticoagulants (such as warfarin), aspirin, an NSAID,
barbiturates, carbamazepine, hydantoins, rifampin, sulfinpyrazone,
isoniazid, nicotine, or zidovudine.
No known food interactions.
Consult your doctor if you have liver or kidney
disease, diabetes mellitus, phenylketonuria, or a history of
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