Tylenol Side Effects

tylenol side effectsTylenol is one of the most well-known names in over-the-counter pain relief. Tylenol was first sold in 1955. Originally manufactured by McNeil, the Tylenol brand was purchaed by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson in 1959. Since then, the brand has gained immense popularity. There are now dozens of available Tylenol products. Tylenol products have a wide range of uses, including treatment for headaches, muscle aches, colds, fevers, and arthritis.

However, Tylenol is not without side effects. Tylenol side effects range from mild to life-threatening. A number of Tylenol side effects have been reported by users. The most common Tylenol side effects include allergic reactions to the drug. In severe cases, Tylenol side effects on the liver have caused severe injury and reported death.

Tylenol Side Effects Overview

In general, Tylenol is mild and well-tolerated by patients. Since side effects are uncommon, patients who experience Tylenol side effects are encouraged to seek medical attention. A medical professional can conduct tests and examinations to ensure that the Tylenol side effects are not caused by severe underlying conditions. Tylenol side effects indicating potential liver damage or overdose should be treated immediately.

Tylenol Allergic Reactions

In some cases, patients have developed allergic reactions to Tylenol. Allergic reactions should be treated immediately by a medical professional. This is especially true if the patients experiences Tylenol side effects that cause difficulty breathing or severe swelling.

Tylenol side effects indicating an allergic reaction may include:

  • Rash or hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe dizziness or disorientation
  • Swelling or itching, especially in the face, tongue, or throat

Tylenol Liver Damage

The active ingredient in Tylenol is acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is metabolized, or broken down, by the liver. It is important to stay within the recommended dosage amounts of Tylenol and other acetaminophen drugs. Excessive amounts of acetaminophen can cause damage to the liver. It is recommended that patients take no more than 4,000 milligrams of acetaminophen per day.

A study was conducted on more than 300 patients who were admitted to a hospital for acetaminophen overdose. Of all the patients, nearly 7 percent suffered severe liver damage. Fortunately, all of the patients recovered and there were no deaths.

Symptoms of overdose and liver damage include:

  • Dark-colored urine
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive sweating
  • Abdominal and stomach pain
  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes

Tylenol Side Effects from Alcohol

Tylenol side effects can be severe when patients consume alcohol while taking the drug. This is because alcohol is also metabolized by the liver. The combination of acetaminophen and alcohol can overload the liver and cause permanent damage in severe cases. It is recommended that patients avoid Tylenol side effects by refraining from alcohol consumption during use.

Patients who consume more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day should speak with their doctor before taking Tylenol. Additionally, those who have had cirrhosis of the liver should also speak with their doctor before beginning acetaminophen treatment.

Other Tylenol Drug Interactions

Reports indicate that a number of different drugs can interact with Tylenol. Patients who are currently taking drugs that may interact should speak with their doctor before taking Tylenol. In many cases, the patient may need to modify treatment with one of the drug to avoid Tylenol side effects from drug interactions. In some cases, drug interactions can be managed so that patients are not required to stop taking one of them.

Drugs that may cause Tylenol side effects include:

  • Acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin
  • Barbiturates such as phenoarbital
  • Blood thinners such as warfarin and dabigatran
  • Antiepileptic drugs such as carbamazepine and phenytoin
  • Cholestyramine, which bind bile in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Isoniazid and rifampin, which is used to treat tuberculosis


View Sources
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  2. Johnson, G K, and K G Tolman. "Chronic Liver Disease and Acetaminophen." Annals of Internal Medicine 87.3 (1977): 302-304. MEDLINE with Full Text. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.
  3. Marx, Jean. "Protecting liver from painkiller's lethal dose. (Toxicology)." Science 298.5592 (2002): 341+. Academic OneFile. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.