3 Considerations When Taking Tylenol
3 considerations when taking Tylenol recently came to mind when I went to the pharmacy looking for a decongestant. Having rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a reason to jump all over the first sign of a cold, which happened last week. Taking an immunosuppressive to treat the RA makes me vigilant to avoid any infection. When I started feeling that sore throat and having some sniffles I took action!
I took a long steamy shower, then headed for the pharmacy to pick up a decongestant. While locating the decongestant, I noticed how many products contained Tylenol, also known as acetaminophen. Tylenol is used for various types of pain and for fevers. As a pharmacist, I see the benefit of combination products, you know, more than one ingredient in a tablet, capsule or liquid. Especially because I personally have a strong gag reflex and have problems taking any medication. If you can get 2 or 3 ingredients in one tablet or capsule that should be good, right? Hmmmm. Or maybe just be careful and aware of what you are doing.
The potential problem with Tylenol for a person with RA is that it is processed in the body through the liver as some of the medications used to treat RA are. Now if the amount of Tylenol taken is within the recommended dose, we are normally fine. But if the recommended dose is exceeded, liver toxicity could occur. That is why 3 considerations when taking Tylenol or a medication containing Tylenol should be employed.
- Know what other medications you are taking and if any of them have the potential for liver toxicity. To get this information you can ask your pharmacist or refer to the medication information sheet you receive when you get your medication filled. By knowing this bit of information you can be aware that your liver already has a load to process and if you add Tylenol, it could cause toxicity.
- Know ALL ingredients in any medication you are taking. That means over-the-counter medications as well as prescription medications. The Tylenol could easily be missed in a list of ingredients, so look the list over carefully! You want to be able to account for all the Tylenol (acetaminophen) you are taking so that you don’t unintentionally take too much.
- Know how much Tylenol there is contained in a given dose. Tylenol is sold in a regular strength, an extra-strength variety, and a longer acting arthritic formulation. Tylenol is in all sorts of strengths in the combination products. Be clear on how much Tylenol you get in each tablet, capsule or liquid.
Tylenol (acetaminophen) is inexpensive, generally well tolerated and readily available. It is usually safe and effective when used as the manufacturer directs.
The adult dose is 325 to 650mg every four to six hours as needed for symptoms or 1000mg every six hours as needed for symptoms. There is a longer acting arthritic formulation containing 650mg per tablet. An adult can take 2 of the arthritic 650mg tablets every eight hours as needed for symptoms. When calculating the daily amount is when it is important to know every medication containing Tylenol (acetaminophen) and just how much is in each dose.
The daily maximum dose of Tylenol is now generally 3,000mg per day. This is down from the previous 4,0000mg per day. The change was due to the manufacturer wanting to be cautious. Your doctor can assess what is best for you.
Tylenol (acetaminophen) is easy to get and an effective pain reliever and antipyretic when used properly. Just be aware of what medications you are taking that have a potential for liver toxicity, know exactly what is in every medication you take including over-the-counter and prescription medications and know what strength each dosing unit contains so you can stay safe from liver toxicity.
And that is using Arthritis Wisdom!