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- Patient Comments: Tylenol Liver Damage - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Tylenol Liver Damage - Signs and Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Tylenol Liver Damage - Alternatives
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) liver damage facts
- "Is it safe for me to take Tylenol?"
- Do the recommended doses of Tylenol cause any liver damage?
- Why should we know that the generic name of Tylenol is acetaminophen?
- Just how much acetaminophen is safe to take?
- How is acetaminophen processed (metabolized) in the body?
- How does an overdose of acetaminophen cause liver injury?
- Is overdose with acetaminophen usually accidental or intentional?
- How can accidental overdose be avoided in adults?
- How can overdose be avoided in children?
- What are the symptoms and signs of acetaminophen-induced liver damage?
- What should be done if acetaminophen toxicity is suspected?
How can overdose be avoided in children?
The dosing of acetaminophen for children, as previously mentioned, depends on their weight and age. To avoid overdose in children, follow the same procedures for them as suggested above for adults. Beyond that, two adults should independently determine the dose of acetaminophen for a child. If there is disagreement about the recommended dose, consult a pharmacist or physician. These precautions are not excessive when you consider that in one experimental mock situation, only 30% of adults correctly calculated the dose of acetaminophen for their child. If a baby-sitter is caring for a sick child, parents should carefully write out the dose and schedule for the administration of the drug. Each year, in children with high fevers who were given repetitive doses of acetaminophen, deaths have occurred due to accidental overdose and the resulting liver damage.
What are the symptoms and signs of acetaminophen-induced liver damage?
Three clinical stages (phases) of acetaminophen-induced liver injury have been described.
For the next perhaps 12 to 24 hours, which is the second phase or the so-called inactive (latent) phase, the patient feels well.
In the third phase, which begins about 48 to as late as 72 hours after the ingestion of acetaminophen, liver blood test abnormalities begin to appear. Most notably, extremely high (abnormal) levels of the liver blood tests, AST and ALT, are common with this type of liver injury. The outcome (prognosis) of the liver injury can be predicted fairly accurately on the basis of the patient's clinical exam and blood tests. For example, at one extreme, if the patient develops severe acid buildup in the blood, kidney failure, bleeding disorders, or coma, then death is almost certain. Only a liver transplant can possibly save such a patient.