Tylenol Liver Damage - Alternatives

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If concerned about acetaminophen liver damage, how do you manage pain? What else do you take?

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"Is it safe for me to take Tylenol?"

Tylenol is currently the most popular painkiller in the United States. Americans take over 8 billion pills (tablets or capsules) of Tylenol each year. Acetaminophen is the general (generic) name for Tylenol, which is a brand name. Although acetaminophen is contained in over 200 medications, most of them do not have the name "Tylenol" on their labels. Moreover, just about every patient with liver disease in my practice invariably asks:

  • "Is it safe for me to take Tylenol?" or
  • "How much Tylenol can I take?"

These questions highlight the public's awareness of the potential for acetaminophen to cause liver damage or injury.

Tylenol is a very effective pain-killing (analgesic) and fever-reducing (anti-pyretic) agent. It is also a very safe drug as long as the recommended dosage is not exceeded. In fact, the use of Tylenol instead of aspirin to treat fevers in infants has greatly reduced the occurrence of Reye's syndrome, an often fatal form of liver failure. Ironically, however, taking too much Tylenol (an overdose) can also cause liver failure, although by a different process (mechanism), as discussed below.

Return to Tylenol Liver Damage

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Comment from: Carol, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 26

I take an average of 1 to 2 Tylenol per day.

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