Often, when people experience a headache, muscular aches, backache, arthritis, the common cold, toothaches, menstrual cramps or fever, they reach for a common over-the-counter drug known as Tylenol to relieve the symptoms. Tylenol is chemically known as acetaminophen. You can find it on any drugstore’s shelves. There are at least 100 preparations that contain acetaminophen.
Acetaminophen can produce harmful side effects, especially in combination with other drugs. In fact, there is not one drug that does not have side effects. It is therefore important for patients who take medications to read the warning label on the bottle or on the printed insert in the package.
There are so many drugs for so many different conditions that physicians often consult the Physicians Desk Reference before writing a prescription. If they are like me, they may sometimes consult a pharmacist, as well, to make sure that there will be no harmful interactions between the drugs the patient has been prescribed. (It takes roughly five years for pharmacists to earn their degree, called a PharmD, so you can be sure that they are highly knowledgeable about drugs and their chemistry.)
. Consider these precautions when taking Tylenol and many other drugs:
• Don’t take Tylenol if you are taking any alcoholic beverage. It has been reported that this combination can cause liver damage.
• Do not take it for more than seven days for muscle pains or more than three days for a fever unless directed by a doctor.
• Do not take this drug if you have breathing problems such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, glaucoma or enlargement of the prostate gland.
• Do not use Tylenol if you are taking sedatives or tranquilizers without first consulting a doctor,
• Tylenol should not be taken along with drugs used for depression, psychiatric or emotional conditions, and Parkinson’s disease.
• If nervousness, dizziness or sleeplessness occurs, discontinue the drug.
• If you are pregnant or nursing a baby, seek the advice of your doctor before using this product.
• Do not exceed the recommended doses that are plainly written on the bottle.
In general, before using over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or any product that contains acetaminophen, it is best to consult with your physician or pharmacist.
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