Acetaminophen is a substance wildly used in pain killers that treat mild to moderate conditions. It falls in the family of analgesics and antipyretics or pain reliever and fever reducer respectively and is effective because it alters the body’s way of sensing pain and has the ability to cool it. The substance is used in tablets for both prescription and over the counter (OTC) purposes for menstrual cramps, cold and flu symptoms, muscle, back and joint pains (including osteoarthritis which is arthritis caused by the breaking down of ligaments), headaches, toothaches and negative vaccine reactions among other things.
Due to the wide variety of brands using Acetaminophen, it can be bought in tablets ranging from dissolvable, chewable and extended-release or long-acting forms, capsules, liquid solutions or suspensions and concentrated liquid forms referred to as drops, all of which are taken by mouth. Some are best taken with, before or after a meal, while some are gentle enough to be taken without food. There are also rectal suppositories.
Whether prescribed or OTC, Acetaminophen should be taken according to the recommended dosages and by the recommended age. Most medications using the substance are to be taken only when needed however, dosage may be changed by a doctor. In the event that this happens, be sure to take the tablet as prescribed, for the entire time prescribed. Missed dosages can be taken as soon as remembered unless it is too close to the next intake to avoid overdoses.
Giving adult medication for children is extremely unwise and can lead to many adverse effects. Remain within the recommended guidelines given by your doctor or set out by the manufacturer. This advice is in no way limited to the amount per intake but extends to the maximum dosage since exceeding the limits set can result in liver damages.
Since allergic reactions can occur it is good to notice the body’s reaction to the drug. Discontinue used if symptoms get worse, if new symptoms develop, if redness or swelling occurs, pain persists for over 5 days in children and 10 days in adults for OTC or remains after the amount prescribed by a doctor is completed. If treating a fever, stop if it worsen or exceeds 3 days. Should any of these occur, consult a doctor.
Children might be more sensitive to Acetaminophen so avoid administering if a child has a severe or prolonged case of sore throat especially if it is accompanied by a fever, rash, vomiting or nausea. These are often signs of more serious conditions so immediate medical advice must be sought.
Always read packages carefully and speak with your pharmacist about drugs with Acetaminophen since swelling of various body parts, hives, hoarseness, difficulties with breathing and swallowing, rash, itching as well as hives can result from using the substance.
The most common brands of OTC with Acetaminophen are Excedrin ® (PM, EXTRA-Strength and Migraine tablets, Geltabs and caplets) and eleven members of the Tylenol® brand including Tylenol® Suspension Children’s. Check nlm.nih.gov for more information.