What is acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen is commonly used to treat pain and fever. It is found in over 700 medicines, like Tylenol, Midol, NeoCitran, NyQil and others.

What are the health risks?

Acetaminophen, like Tylenol, can help you feel better, if it is used correctly, but there is a limit on how much you can take in one day. Taking more than recommended dose can cause severe injury to the liver or even death.

What is an acetaminophen overdose?

Taking too much acetaminophen by accident or on purpose , is called an overdose.

An overdose can be caused by:

  • taking it too often or too many pills each time.
  • taking more than one medicine at the same time that contains acetaminophen.

How to use the acetaminophen safely?

  1. Avoid taking more than one product containing acetaminophen at the same time.
  2. Follow instructions provided by your health care provider. Ask questions and learn if your medicine contains acetaminophen.
  3. Always read and folllow the directions on the label before you give or take medicine.
  4. Keep the medicine in its original container so you can read the label, remember the dose and know what it is used for. It is important to understand how much to take, how frequently to take it, and when to stop.
  5. Keep track of how much medicine you have taken and when you last took it.
  6. Store medicines safely in a locked box and put it in a high place that is out of a child's reach.
  7. Take any expired or unused medicine to your local health centre for proper disposal.
  8. If you have liver disease or three or more alcoholic drinks everyday, the maximum amount you can safely take may be less than what is listed on product label.

Know your dose!

Never take more than the maximum daily dose of 4000 milligrams, which is the same as eight extra-strength tablets of 500 milligrams, or 12 regular-strength tablets of 325 milligrams.

The maximum amount of acetaminophen per day is lower for children under 12 years old. Weight-and-age-based dosing instructions are provided with children's acetaminophen products.

Taking care of your physical and mental health

Some people overdose when they have a mental illness or feel stressed or angry. Remember you are not alone. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health problem, help is available. Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, teacher, guidance counsellor or Elder. Talk about how you feel and what you are going through. Go to your local health centre to speak with a mental health provider.