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What should I know before taking acetaminophen?

Before taking acetaminophen you should know if any other medications that you take contain acetaminophen.  Prescription medications like Percocet, Vicodin, Norco, Fioricet (to name a few) and many over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as sleep aids, pain relievers, cough, cold and headache medicines also contain acetaminophen.  A healthy adult should not ingest more than 3000mg of acetaminophen per day.

You should also know if you have liver disease and if you drink excessively (more than two drinks per night for a man, one for a woman) because if you have liver problems or frequently drink alcohol you need to ask your doctor before using any acetaminophen containing products.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Some acetaminophen products contain sulfites. If you are allergic to or sensitive to sulfites, read all label warnings carefully.

Taking too much acetaminophen can damage your liver. If you are already taking acetaminophen, check with your doctor before you start taking more. Large doses of acetaminophen can cause liver damage. If you have liver disease, you should not take acetaminophen without checking with your doctor. If you take acetaminophen, you should avoid alcohol.

If you have glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, acetaminophen may not be a good option for you.

If you have phenylketonuria (PKU), be aware that some acetaminophen products contain aspartame.

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

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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.