Tylenol, otherwise known with its generic name acetaminophen is our go-to drug whenever we have headache or body pain. It is one of the most popular over-the-counter drugs. Due to its easy accessibility and effectiveness, people may develop dependency or worst, an addiction to it.
Aside from Tylenol, there are other popular brands that also contain acetaminophen. For example, we have Panadol, Excedrin, Nyquil and the list goes on. Tylenol is recommended for ranges of pain from mild to moderate. Acetaminophen is its major chemical component contributing to its primary action within the body.
Acetaminophen acts as both an analgesic and anti-pyretic. In layman’s term, it is a painkiller and a fever-reducing drug. It helps you lessen the pain on a particular part of your body. Plus, it is what our moms often administer every time we have a fever since we were kids.
There are approximately 52 million of Americans who use acetaminophen containing drugs. Certainly, Americans have a growing dependency on this drug. Although Tylenol or acetaminophen is widely used in America, only few are aware of its effect in their body with excess dose.
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How Well Do You Know Your Tylenol?
The Tylenol brand has a long list of variants depending on the targeted age bracket and a particular body part. However, it is usually manufactured with 325-650 mg of acetaminophen per tablet for adults. The maximum dose you can only take per day is 3000 mg. The time interval recommended is every six hours.
In addition, it also contains organic and inorganic compounds. These compounds helps for the capsule’s stability, longer storage life and better bioavailability in the body.
Based on the aforementioned, Tylenol is mainly composed of acetaminophen. Acetaminophen helps increase your threshold when it comes to pain. As a result, you will feel lesser body pain or headache.
Furthermore, it helps decrease your body temperature during fever. This mechanism is due to the inhibition of a body hormone that influences the anterior hypothalamic region.
3. Side effects
Even though the majority of pharmaceutical companies prioritize the safety of the consumers, there are still inevitable side effects. Side effects vary depending on what drug or medicine you used. In this case, acetaminophen is known to be hepatotoxic. In other words, it can induce liver problems such as acute liver injury or failure that might call for a transplant.
To add, liver damage usually happens when Tylenol or acetaminophen is consumed above the maximum or recommended dosage. Hence, it is important to check the contraindications written on its packaging. This will guide you and help you avoid such dangerous reactions.
Aside from liver problems, there are also allergic reactions that may occur while taking Tylenol. For instance, you may experience itching, hives, blisters, and difficulty in swallowing or breathing. This might be less serious compared to hepatic problems, but it is a must to consult your doctor to prevent it from getting worse.
What makes Tylenol addictive?
We have talked about Tylenol’s contents, and acetaminophen seems like a typical chemical compound added to different drugs. Is there something about its chemical structure that makes it addictive? Will it make you compulsively crave it just like other drugs?
First, we have to know that drugs such as meth, cocaine, and heroin affect our brain in a different way. Compared to over-the-counter and prescription drugs, they do not just alter your brain activity but also destroy your body. Most of the drugs that cause addiction react to our brain’s reward system.
To add, it makes us feel pleasure every intake of it. This will cause you to crave for that euphoric sensation from your previous experience. As you continue to feed that craving, your brain will get the hang of it making you addicted.
Second, you have to continuously feed your addiction since your body craves it. Drugs may cost you a lot of money. Being an addict affects your body holistically, thus, affects your performance drastically at work and even at home.
Moreover, you will do such desperate measures regardless of the consequences that might come after. Actions that may even harm your family will not even cross your mind.
Lastly, prolonged consumption of addicting drugs will eventually make you unable to stop yourself from using it.
Can you get addicted to Tylenol?
Did all the said information meet your experiences while using Tylenol? Certainly, no. It is because acetaminophen has neither any addictive properties nor the capability of altering brain chemicals. But prolonged use may still result in dependency.
You may mistake addiction from dependency. They have different meanings even though they are often used interchangeably. As was mentioned before, addiction means you are already not able to stop yourself from further using a drug. On the other hand, a dependency is something you may develop due to the prolonged use of a certain drug.
They may be similar but addiction results to a more negative impact not only on the individual but also to his family and community. Intake of Tylenol leans more towards dependency rather than addiction.
Indeed, Tylenol can not get someone addicted. Regardless of the total time, regularity, and quantity consumed, it can not result in addiction. However, if taken at higher or excess amounts, it will lead you to hepatotoxicity. Acute allergic reactions are also risk factors when taking this drug.
Instead of addiction, chronic use of the said drug may result to dependency. This is due to the action of acetaminophen as an inhibitor rather than a stimulant. Plus, it can not induce elated sensations in your body.
Even though it is not a drug that needs a prescription, you still have to consult your doctor. Your doctor might prescribe you an alternative drug that meets your needs yet lesser side effects. This is to prevent further liver damage that may result in death.
You will not know what harmful reactions might occur to your body so better check your health history for health safety. Always read the instructions, contraindications and other details on the packaging to avoid bad or even fatal reactions.