Tylenol Poisoning

Accidental Tylenol Poisoning

Accidental poisoning with Tylenol is also common and can be equally dangerous (if not more so) than an intentional overdose. Sometimes, a Tylenol dosage is simply calculated or measured incorrectly, especially with Children's Tylenol or Infant Tylenol. Often, people just take the drug too frequently, not knowing that they are exceeding the maximum recommended dosage.
Sometimes, people take too much by inadvertently taking several different products that contain acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol). Acetaminophen is found in a wide variety of nonprescription and prescription products, such as products for:
It is important to always read the labels of nonprescription products to identify any sources of acetaminophen.
If you regularly take Tylenol, you should ask your healthcare provider if any of your prescription medications contain acetaminophen (see Tylenol Drug Interactions for more information). It is important to understand that the maximum Tylenol dosage (typically 4000 mg for most healthy adults) includes acetaminophen from any source. In other words, you cannot take the maximum dose of Tylenol with other products that also contain acetaminophen.
It may seem like 4000 mg is quite a bit, but it is easy to exceed that daily limit. For instance, the recommended dose for extra-strength Tylenol (500 mg) is two tablets every four to six hours as needed, not to exceed eight tablets per day. However, if someone takes two tablets every four hours for an entire day, this would be 6000 mg, more than the daily maximum.
It is important to keep track of how much Tylenol you take and to be careful not to exceed the maximum amount. It is also important to understand that chronically taking too much Tylenol can be just as dangerous as taking a large overdose. In fact, there is evidence that young children are more likely to die from chronically being given too much Tylenol compared to a single accidental poisoning.
People who regularly drink alcohol may experience poisoning more easily than others. Even normal Tylenol doses can cause problems in regular drinkers (see Tylenol and Alcohol).
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