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