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Acetaminophen Side Effects

You are unlikely to experience side effects of acetaminophen unless you take too much of the medicine. Nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, and yellowing of the skin and eyes are some of the side effects that have been seen in people who overdosed on acetaminophen. These potentially serious side effects should be reported to a healthcare provider right away.

(In November 2010, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved an intravenous form of acetaminophen. For information on this product, see Ofirmev.)

Acetaminophen Side Effects: An Introduction

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with acetaminophen (Tylenol®); however, not everyone who takes the medication will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. In most cases, side effects occur when you take too much acetaminophen.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with acetaminophen. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of acetaminophen side effects with you.)

Serious Side Effects of Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is a non-prescription medication. With prescription medications, the manufacturers must provide "prescribing information" that includes detailed information about side effects. However, such information is not available for most non-prescription medications, including acetaminophen.
Most of the information about acetaminophen side effects comes from information about acetaminophen overdoses. Therefore, these serious side effects are not very common (unless, of course, you take too much acetaminophen). These include, but are not limited to:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Appetite loss
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Abdominal pain, especially near the liver (the upper right part of the abdomen)
  • Yellow eyes or skin
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart problems
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Loss of life.
Rarely, ulcers or bleeding in the digestive tract can occur with acetaminophen, although it is much less common for acetaminophen than for other non-prescription pain relievers.
Most people do not experience any side effects, except when acetaminophen is taken inappropriately.
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