Tylenol is the US brand for paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, and is a common over the counter painkiller. It is used in adults, children, and infants to treat pain and fever in a wide range of conditions, including headache, toothache, earache, muscle pain, sprains and strains, period pain, arthritis, sore throat, post-immunisation fever, colds, and flu. Some examples of other branded versions of paracetamol include Panadol, Medinol, Calpol, and Disprol.
Paracetamol can be dangerous if you take too much, so make sure you only take one paracetamol-containing product at a time. It can appear in all sorts of products such as cold and flu remedies - so worth a careful look!
The ingredient in Tylenol, paracetamol, is available in tablets, capsules, effervescent tablets (dissolve them in water before swallowing), orodispersible tablets (they melt in your mouth), oral liquids (sachets and bottles), suppositories (tablets for the rectum) and injections (prescription only) forms.
Paracetamol can be taken every 4 to 6 hours, no more than 4 times a day. The amount you can take depends on your age:
Babies aged 2 months (that weigh more than 4kg and were born after 37 weeks) can be given 60 mg, which can be repeated just once after 4 - 6 hours if required, however, this is normally only post-immunisation only.
Side effects are generally uncommon for paracetamol. As with all medications, there is the potential for serious side effects, such as an allergic reaction. You should stop taking paracetamol and seek urgent medical attention if you develop a skin rash, shortness of breath, wheezing, tightness in your chest or throat or swelling of your tongue, mouth, lips, face or throat. This is not a complete list of side effects; you can find a complete list in the patient information leaflet provided with paracetamol. If you are concerned about any side effects, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
Paracetamol is not suitable for everyone. You should not take paracetamol if you have previously had an allergic reaction to paracetamol or another ingredient listed in the medication. Paracetamol should not be given to babies under 2 months old.
You should speak to your local doctor before taking paracetamol if you have liver or kidney problems or drink more than 14 units of alcohol each week on a regular basis, as it may not be suitable for you.
Diabetics and people with phenylketonuria need to be careful when taking liquid, effervescent tablet and orodispersible tablet forms of paracetamol as they may contain sugar or aspartame, it may be best for them to avoid these formulations.
Paracetamol can interact with other medicines such as warfarin, lomitapide, colestyramine and lenalidomide. If you take any prescription, over-the-counter or herbal medicines we recommend you ask your doctor or pharmacist to check they are safe to take alongside paracetamol.
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