What is Acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen is a commonly used Analgesic (reduces pain) and Antipyretic (reduces fever). It has little to no anti-inflammatory properties. It can be found in many Over The Counter (OTC) products either alone or in combination with other active ingredients. Acetaminophen is also found in many prescription pain medications.

How safe is Acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen is usually very well tolerated at the recommended dose of no more than 3-4 grams in a 24-hour period.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Acetaminophen has been found to be safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Side effects

Side effects with Acetaminophen are rare, but rashes and blood disorders have been reported.

Buyer Beware !!

Although acetaminophen is relatively safe, “in the United States, it accounts for more than 50% of overdose-related acute liver failure and approximately 20% of the liver transplant cases.”

In many cases, the overdose is accidental. It is important to check the ingredients in your medicines that treat allergy, cough, colds, flu, and sleeplessness as they may also contain acetaminophen.

Factors that increase acetaminophen toxicity

Acute, high doses

Chronic Alcohol ingestion

Herbs and medication that affect liver metabolism of acetaminophen

Age and genetic factors may affect liver metabolism of acetaminophen

Nutritional status – Increased toxicity in malnourished patients

Chronic liver disease Increased toxicity, especially in chronic alcohol abuse

Acetaminophen for COVID-19 and other infections

There has been a rush for Acetaminophen as a fever reducer during this COVID-19 Pandemic because of some reports that Ibuprofen use has been found to be detrimental to COVID-19 patients.

It is important to note that fever is an important way that our body uses to heal itself. Generally, there is no reason to take a fever reducing medication if the fever is mild or moderate. Your body is trying to fight the infection and needs the raised temperature among other things to do this.

Reducing the body temperature may sometimes alter the body’s ability to fight the infection. Taking fever reducers may become advisable when the temperature becomes too high to prevent convulsions.

Also, when using acetaminophen for pain, you should seek to heal the pain and not just kill the pain as pointed out in one of my previous articles.


While Acetaminophen is relatively safe at recommended doses, you should wait until you really need it and be careful to take all the necessary precautions to prevent an accidental overdose.

Happy reading and stay safe

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