How Does Tylenol Work?

Tylenol® (acetaminophen) is a nonprescription drug that is used as a pain reliever. In particular, it is approved for treating minor aches and pains, such as headaches, backaches, and muscle aches. It is also approved for reducing fevers. But how does Tylenol work?
Even though Tylenol has been around for quite a while, it is not entirely clear how it works. However, the product has been shown to work differently from any other over-the-counter (OTC) medicines.
Most other nonprescription pain relievers or fever reducers are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Both NSAIDs and Tylenol block the body's production of prostaglandins (naturally occurring chemicals that cause inflammation and fever). However, while NSAIDS block prostaglandin production throughout the body, Tylenol appears to do so just in the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system).
(For more details on how this drug works, click Tylenol. This article also offers a more in-depth overview of the medicine's uses, dosing guidelines, effects in the body, and possible side effects.)
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