Can You Become Addicted To Panadol

Can You Become Addicted to Panadol?

Panadol, which is also known by its generic name Acetaminophen, is used to manage fever – and mild to moderate pain. While some people deem this painkiller to be less dangerous than say, Hydrocodone or Oxycodone, the fact of the matter is it can be addictive as well.

Acetaminophen (Panadol)

What is Acetaminophen (Panadol) Addiction?

You are technically addicted to Panadol if you take it at least 3 times a week for the last 3 months. Ideally, it should only be taken for less than 3 days for fever and 10 days for pain.

Panadol addiction can be more severe if you are taking Tylenol 3. Unlike the common Panadol, Tylenol 3 contains a higher amount of Acetaminophen – as well as Codeine. The latter makes the drug addictive – especially when it’s taken improperly.

Codeine-containing Acetaminophen can also cause terrible headaches – especially if it’s taken about twice a week for 3 months or more.

To make matters worse, these headaches don’t go away even if you stop taking Tylenol 3. You may have to undergo treatment for quite some time to get rid of the headaches that come with the drug.

Additionally, Acetaminophen and Codeine – when taken in high doses or for a prolonged time – can damage the liver.  

What are the Signs of Panadol Addiction?

Apart from excessive or prolonged intake, you may exhibit these habits that are unique to painkiller addicts:

Signs of Panadol Addiction

1. You Often Think About Taking Panadol

One of the first signs of addiction is a preoccupation with the drug. You’re usually concerned with when you’ll be able to take the dose – that you end up watching the clock in anticipation of your next dose. You may even be worried about having enough supply in your stash.

2. You’re Shopping for (or lying to your) Doctors

If you’re going to other physicians just to get your prescription fix, then it may be a sign of addiction. Another issue would be lying to your doctor just to get the Panadol that you need.

3. Your Source Painkillers from ‘Unique’ Sources

You may think that you don’t have enough Panadol supplies, which may prod you to:

4. You Feel Angry Whenever Someone Brings Your Addiction Up

Maybe your family and friends have noticed your addiction to Panadol. And whenever they talk to you about this, you feel mad or irritated. You may be resistant to their propositions of treatment, even if you are already feeling bad due to the excessive doses.

5. You’re No Longer Yourself

Because of your addiction, things might have changed. Maybe you’re not the way you were before. You may be unkempt, moody, angry, jittery, or nervous.

Your Panadol addiction may also cause changes in sleeping patterns. This is especially the case if you’re taking Tylenol 3, which has codeine, as this can make you doze for longer than usual.

Effects of Acetaminophen Addiction

Long-term use can lead to tiredness, breathlessness, bluish lips/fingers, anemia, and liver/kidney damage.

Effects of Acetaminophen Addiction

Apart from these symptoms, long-term use could lead to overdose. Such signs include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Pain in the upper right area of the stomach
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death, which can occur within 2-4 days

Certain types of Acetaminophen – such as chewable tablets, effervescent/dissolving tablets, powders, and liquid products may contain sugar or aspartame. This may be dangerous for people with diabetes or phenylketonuria, which may require you to restrict the consumption of said substances.

Should you decide to abruptly stop taking this drug, you can develop withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, muscle/bone pain, nausea, and vomiting.

How to Take Panadol Safely

Since taking too much Panadol can be addictive – and bad for your health – it’s important to follow these tips on how to take the drug safely:

Take Panadol Safely

1. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about the other medications you are taking.

Before you take Acetaminophen, remember to disclose your medication history – especially if you are taking any of the following:

  • Vitamins
  • Supplements or herbal remedies
  • Anticoagulants such as Warfarin
  • Anti-seizure medications such as Phenytoin, Phenobarbital, or Carbamazepine
  • Any other medications for pain, cough, or colds
  • Isoniazid
  • Phenothiazines

2. Avoid taking Panadol with other Acetaminophen-containing medications.

When taken in huge quantities, Acetaminophen can damage the liver. To prevent this from happening, make sure to read the label of every drug you take. Sometimes, medications that contain Acetaminophen label the component as the following:

  • AC
  • APAP
  • Acetamin
  • Acetam
  • Acetaminoph
  • Acetaminop

3. Don’t take Panadol if you are a heavy alcohol drinker.

If you drink three or more alcoholic servings a day, then you should avoid taking Acetaminophen. They are both bad for the liver, which can accelerate damage in the short term.

4. Take Panadol as directed.

Read the label or prescription before you take Panadol. Avoid taking it in higher quantities – or greater frequency.  Remember, the max limit is 4,000 mg. If you still have a fever – or feel pain despite continued use, consult with your doctor or pharmacist.

5. Be wary of the side effects.

As with other medications, Panadol can cause some side effects. Should you experience any of the following, make sure to contact your physician right away:

  • Peeling or blistering skin
  • Hives
  • Rashes
  • Itchiness
  • Hoarseness
  • Swelling of the face, lips, throat, tongue, eyes, feet, hands, ankles, or lower legs
  • Breathing or swallowing difficulties

6. Stop taking Panadol if your symptoms get worse.

Should you experience new, unexpected symptoms, make sure to contact your doctor. Avoid taking it for more than 10 days for pain – and more than 3 days for fever. This can lead to liver damage – and could even be fatal in some instances.


Panadol is a pain reliever and fever reducer that can be addictive to some people. This is especially the case for Acetaminophen tablets that contain Codeine, which is another addictive substance. If left untreated, Panadol intake may lead to overdose – which can result in seizures, coma, even death.

Latest posts by Raychel Ria Agramon, BSN, RN, MPM (see all)