What are the possible side effects of acetaminophen?

Scott D. Martin, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Acetaminophen (Tylenol and other brands) is less likely to cause gastric bleeding than other pain relievers, but may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, rash, tiredness, weakness. Excess dosage can cause liver  damage. Heavy alcohol consumption during long-term therapy may cause liver damage.
One disadvantage to acetaminophen is it has a ceiling effect to analgesia, meaning higher doses do not work better. There is also a possibility of liver damage with over dosage of acetaminophen. This can occur with one very high dose of acetaminophen or a prolonged period of moderately high doses. If you drink more than three alcoholic beverages in a day, liver toxicity can at much lower doses if you are taking acetaminophen. In addition, many prescription pain medications contain high doses of acetaminophen, so do not add additional doses of acetaminophen when taking these.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.