Safe Acetaminophen Dosage with Chronic Pain

Problems knowing acetaminophen dosage

Safe Acetaminophen Dosage with Chronic PainMedication safety is one more health concern for people living with frequent acute pain or chronic pain from chronic illness like rheumatoid disease (RD). It’s not always obvious when it comes to acetaminophen dosage especially. Can you believe nearly 50% of excess acetaminophen-related liver damage is an unintentional result of not reading and following the label? Of those who accidentally exceed the maximum daily limit of acetaminophen, most do so by taking the next dose too soon, using multiple products containing acetaminophen, or taking too much at one time.”

Acetaminophen is the most common drug ingredient in America, found in over 600 medicines, including most prescription pain medications (partial list below). But people with the severe pain may be more aware of the other ingredient, usually a narcotic. Of course many people also take cold medicines that could include acetaminophen. But tracking acetaminophen dosage may be the last thing on the mind of a person with a chronic illness and complex health problems.

So, bookmark these fact facts and quick tips to acetaminophen dosage safety.

5 fast facts on acetaminophen dosage

Knowing these facts will help you protect yourself and your family.

  1. One at a time. The safest practice is to take only one medicine containing acetaminophen at a time.
  2. Daily dose matters. If you take any medicines with acetaminophen, track your daily dose to make sure it’s fewer than 4,000 mg per 24 hours.
  3. Check both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. In the U.S., at least 1 in 7 people use OTC medicines to treat cold and flu symptoms every year which often contain acetaminophen (partial list below).
  4. Don’t take your medicine early. Many people who exceed the maximum dose do so by taking their next dose too early.
  5. Acetaminophen is processed through the liver. Higher than recommended doses can damage the liver.

5 tips for medicine safety and proper acetaminophen dosage

My personal tips for medication safety and ensuring safe acetaminophen dosage

  1. Record medicine doses in a log. I use my phone for my own schedule, but when the kids are sick, I keep a list on the counter of what they’ve taken, when and how much.
  2. Reread the label. Pay attention to the active ingredients. Even with familiar meds, I make absolutely sure I know what I’m taking or giving my child. We make it a game as I say, “And how old are you, son?” as we re-check each dose.
  3. Choose single ingredient cold medicines. I have always bought decongestants, antihistamines, or pain relievers separately so I can be careful to treat my kids with only what is needed.
  4. Get a medication safe.
  5. Don’t forget, methotrexate, alcohol and some herbal medicines can also impact the liver. Even a suitable acetaminophen dosage might not be best for your liver after taking other products that are processed by the liver. Ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Common pain prescriptions containing acetaminophen

Endocet®, Lortab®, NORCO®, Percocet®, Tramadol®, Tramacet®, and TYLENOL® Nos. 2, 3, 4, Vicodin®, Ultracet®

Common OTC brands containing acetaminophen

Anacin®, Buckley’s Complete®, Contac®, Coricidin®, DayQuil®, Dimetapp®, Dristan®, Excedrin®, Midol®, Mucinex®, NyQuil®, Neocitran®, Panadol®, Robaxacet®, Robitussin®, SUDAFED®, SINUTAB®, Theraflu®, Triaminic®, TYLENOL®, and Vicks®

Recommended reading

Sponsored by the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition’s Know Your Dose campaign

Kelly Young

Kelly Young is an advocate providing ways for patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. Through her writing, speaking, and use of social media, she is building a more accurate awareness of Rheumatoid disease aka Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creating ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and bringing recognition and visibility to the Rheumatoid patient journey. In 2009, Kelly created Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior, a comprehensive website about RA of about 950 pages and writes periodically for other newsletters and websites. Kelly served on the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Advisory Board. There are over 42,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook Fan page. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is the mother of five, a home-schooler, Bible teacher, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She has lived over nine years with unrelenting Rheumatoid disease. See also http://www.rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

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