Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in the most common over-the-counter drug sold, Tylenol. It is common for adults and children to take a dose if they feel they are catching a cold or fever. The drug also serves as a pain reliever.
Although the drug has no side effects when taken in the correct dosage, it can be fatal in severe cases of overdose. It is key that you take precautionary measures to prevent this from happening and learn the symptoms and circumstance of an unintended overdose.
Unintentional overdose can happen in multiple ways. One common method is due to a person taking the incorrect dosage on purpose. In some cases a person may be aware of the effects this overdose can have but usually occurs due to a person taking more pills thinking it will relieve their pain faster. It is recommended that an adult not take more than 4000 milligrams of acetaminophen in a 24 hour period. Taking more than this amount has proven to cause liver damage and taking more than 6000 milligrams in a 24 hour period is a good reference point as to when emergency medical attention is needed.
It is also possible that a person is consuming Acetaminophen in other forms. An overdose occurs in this scenario when people fail to coordinate their medicines. They usually take a dose of Tylenol on top of the prescription medication and this can lead to an unintended overdose. Another common scenario is when people lose track of how much acetaminophen they have already taken. Taking a stronger version of the pill or taking too many pills together at the same time can lead to too much acetaminophen in your system as well.
It is a common occurrence that children mistake their medication for juice or candy due to its flavor and color. Consuming large amounts of these medications in a short amount of time, such as drinking a bottle, classifies as overdose. There have also been many cases where parents lose track of how much acetaminophen their child has taken and they give them too many doses in a short amount of time.