Acetaminophen is a pain reliever that is available over the counter. It works by blocking the body's production of prostaglandins, which are naturally occurring chemicals that cause inflammation and fever. There are many forms of acetaminophen available, including tablets, gel tabs, caplets, chewable tablets, and liquid. Potential side effects of the medication include liver damage, ulcers or bleeding in the digestive tract, and allergic reactions.
(In November 2010, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved an intravenous form of acetaminophen. For information on this product, see Ofirmev.)
What Is Acetaminophen?
Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) is a non-prescription pain reliever and fever reducer. It is one of the most commonly used non-prescription medications. Compared to other non-prescription pain relievers, it is less likely to cause ulcers and to interact with other medications. However, it may be more likely to cause liver damage, especially when taken at very high doses or in people who already have liver damage.
This article refers to acetaminophen that is taken by mouth for adults and children age 12 and older. For information on acetaminophen for younger children or infants, see Children's Tylenol and Infant Tylenol.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed July 27, 2007.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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