More than 60 million Americans use Tylenol weekly. This is to say that at least one of every five Americans uses Tylenol.
At the same time, 85.6% of American adults report drinking alcohol during their lifetime. Thus, it stands to reason that a large population takes alcohol and Tylenol together. In fact, studies show that individuals who drink alcohol are more likely to take high doses of acetaminophen. This is because Tylenol can ease alcohol hangover symptoms, such as headaches.
But is this combination safe? We’ll discuss this and more.
What Is Tylenol and How Does It Work?
Tylenol is an over-the-counter painkiller containing the active ingredient acetaminophen. It relieves pain by inhibiting enzyme activity (specifically, the COX-3 enzyme) in the brain and nervous system.
- How Long Does Tylenol Stay in the Body?
According to a study on 32 healthy participants, acetaminophen’s half-life (the time it takes for its concentration in blood to half) is 2.7 hours. Since the body takes a duration equal to five half-lives to eliminate any substance, Tylenol stays in the body for up to 13.5 hours.
This number increases in cases of:
- Liver disease, because the liver metabolizes acetaminophen.
- Kidney disease, because the kidney is responsible for acetaminophen excretion.
- Old age, because the body's organ functions and metabolism decrease with age.
- Tylenol Dosage and Administration
Tylenol dosage varies based on age and body weight. In general, though, doctors recommend against exceeding a dose of 75 mg per kilogram of body weight.
Patients can take this dose orally (in tablet or syrup form) or healthcare professionals can administer it intravenously.
- How Much Tylenol Is Too Much?
39% of people who take more than 4,000 mg of acetaminophen for more than three consecutive days while also consuming alcohol show biochemical signs of liver injury. In other words, users should not exceed 4,000 mg of acetaminophen daily.
However, this varies considerably on a case-by-case basis. Thus, for a more personalized answer, please consult a healthcare professional.
Tylenol Side Effects
Common Side Effects
Serious Side Effects
Loss of appetite
Jaundice (yellowish discoloration of skin and eyes)
Toxic epidermal necrolysis (a dangerous dermatological condition characterized by skin peeling and blistering)
Acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (sudden onset of small red skin boils)
Stevens-Johnson syndrome (a rare and dangerous skin condition marked by painful rashes and blisters around the eyes, face, and genitals)