acetaminophen, Tylenol and Others (cont.)
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Acetaminophen is metabolized (eliminated by conversion to other chemicals) by the liver. Therefore drugs that increase the action of liver enzymes that metabolize acetaminophen, for example, carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid, rifampin (Rifamate, Rifadin, and Rimactane), reduce the levels of acetaminophen and may decrease the effectiveness of acetaminophen. Doses of acetaminophen greater than the recommended doses are toxic to the liver and may result in severe liver damage. The potential for acetaminophen to harm the liver is increased when it is combined with alcohol or drugs that also harm the liver.
Cholestyramine (Questran) reduces the effect of acetaminophen by decreasing its absorption into the body from the intestine. Therefore, acetaminophen should be administered 3 to 4 hours after cholestyramine or one hour before cholestyramine.
Acetaminophen doses greater than 2275 mg per day may increase the blood thinning effect of warfarin (Coumadin) by an unknown mechanism. Therefore, prolonged administration or large doses of acetaminophen should be avoided during warfarin therapy.
PREGNANCY: Acetaminophen is used in all stages of pregnancy and is the drug of choice for short-term treatment of fever and minor pain during pregnancy.
NURSING MOTHERS: Acetaminophen is excreted in breast milk in small quantities. However, acetaminophen use by the nursing mother appears to be safe.
SIDE EFFECTS: When used appropriately, side effects with acetaminophen are not common. The most serious side effect is liver damage due to large doses, chronic use or concomitant use with alcohol or other drugs that also damage the liver. Chronic alcohol use may also increase the risk of stomach bleeding.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/22/2013
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