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Tylenol dosage: How much Tylenol can I take?

Tylenol forms and strengths | Tylenol for adults | Tylenol for children | Tylenol dosage chart | Tylenol dosage for fever, aches, and pains | Tylenol for petsHow to take Tylenol | FAQs

Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) is a brand-name over-the-counter medicine that temporarily relieves mild to moderate pain and reduces fever. As a symptom medication, Tylenol Regular Strength does not treat or cure any underlying medical condition causing these symptoms. Tylenol is taken by mouth as a tablet or gel capsule containing 325 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen. Tylenol Regular Strength can be taken with or without food.

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Tylenol forms and strengths

Tylenol adult acetaminophen products are available in three strengths: Tylenol Regular Strength (325 mg), Tylenol Extra Strength (500 mg), and Tylenol 8 HR Extended-Release (625 mg). Tylenol Regular Strength is available in two forms:

  • Tablets: 325 mg
  • Liquid gel capsules: 325 mg

Tylenol dosage for adults

Tylenol Regular Strength has a standard dose of two tablets or capsules (650 mg) taken every four to six hours.

  • Standard Tylenol dosage for adults and adolescents 12 or older: Two tablets or gel capsules (650 mg) every four to six hours while symptoms last.
  • Maximum Tylenol dosage for adults and adolescents 12 or older: No more than 10 tablets (3,250 mg) in 24 hours. Do not use for longer than 10 days.

The FDA has set the maximum daily dose for acetaminophen at 4,000 mg. However, healthcare professionals and the manufacturers of Tylenol strongly advise that people take no more than 3,000 mg per day to reduce the risk of accidental overdose and liver poisoning

Consult a doctor about the appropriate acetaminophen dosage if you have liver disease, kidney disease, or are taking drugs that may interact with acetaminophen.

Tylenol dosage for children

Regular Strength Tylenol (325 mg) may be given to children between the ages of 6 and 11. Only give Tylenol to children younger than 6 under the direction of a pediatrician or other healthcare professional. When giving Tylenol to young children, the doctor will determine the appropriate dose based on the child’s weight and age. 

Higher-dose Tylenol (Tylenol Extra Strength and Tylenol 8 HR) should not be given to children except under the direction of a doctor. Tylenol Extra Strength should not be given to children under the age of 12 and Tylenol 8 HR should not be given to those under the age of 18. Tylenol is available as a low-dose oral suspension or dissolving tablet for children (Children’s Tylenol) and infants (Infants’ Tylenol). Both come with measuring devices (syringe or dosing cup) suitable for administering an acetaminophen dose safe for children or infants.

Tylenol dosage by age

Age (yrs) Recommended dosage* Maximum dosage
6-11 1 tablet (325 mg) every 4-6 hours No more than 1 tablet (325 mg) every 4 hours
Do not exceed 5 tablets (1625 mg) for each 24-hour period
Do not use for more than 5 consecutive days
<6 Ask a doctor Ask a doctor

You should also consult a doctor about appropriate dosing if the child has liver disease, kidney problems, or is taking warfarin, a blood-thinning drug.

Tylenol dosage chart

Indication Age Standard dosage Maximum dosage Discontinue
Minor aches and pains or fever 12+ 1-2 tablets or capsules (up to 650 mg) every 4-6 hours 10 tablets or capsules (3250 mg) in 24 hours After 10 days
6-11 1 tablet or capsule (325 mg) every 4-6 hours 5 tablets or capsules (1625 mg) in 24 hours After 5 days
<6 Ask a doctor Ask a doctor Ask a doctor

Tylenol dosage for aches, pain, and fever

For adults and adolescents 12 years or older, Tylenol is indicated for the temporary relief of minor aches and pain due to headache, muscle ache, backache, cold, arthritis pain, toothache, or premenstrual/menstrual cramps. Tylenol is also indicated for the temporary relief of fever or chills. Tylenol Regular Strength may be given to children between the ages of 6 and 11 to relieve minor aches, pains, fever, or chills.

  • Adults and adolescents (12 years and older): Up to 650 mg every four to six hours.
  • Pediatric patients (6-11): 325 mg every four to six hours.
  • Renally impaired patients—dose frequency adjustment: 
    • Creatinine clearance of 10-50 mL/min: Recommended dose every six hours
    • Creatinine clearance less than 10 mL/min: Recommended dose every eight hours
    • Dialysis patients: Recommended dose every eight hours, no supplemental dose required
  • Hepatically impaired patients: Consult a doctor for the appropriately reduced dose.

Tylenol for pets

You should not give Tylenol to your pets except under the direction of a veterinarian. Because animals do not metabolize acetaminophen in the same way as humans, acetaminophen is more toxic to animals and even a small dose can be fatal. In addition to damaging the liver, acetaminophen can cause methemoglobinemia (putting the animal at risk for heart attack), kidney damage, facial and paw swelling, and dry eye. 

If a pet is in pain or has a fever, consult with a veterinarian for the appropriate medication. In rare circumstances, a veterinarian may give directions for administering acetaminophen to a pet. More often, however, the veterinarian will prescribe a pain reliever or fever reducer that is more appropriate for the animal.

If your pet accidentally ingests acetaminophen, take the pet immediately to a veterinarian or veterinary emergency hospital. Treatment consists of emptying the stomach and supportive care. Drug treatment or a blood transfusion may be required for severe acetaminophen poisoning.

How to take Tylenol

Tylenol is taken by mouth as a tablet or gel capsule. When taking a Tylenol tablet, caplet, or gel capsule:

  • Read the instructions and warnings printed on the package or package insert.
  • Take two tablets or capsules with a full glass of water.
  • Tylenol can be taken with food or on an empty stomach.

When taking or administering Tylenol, you may want to consider the following safety tips:

  • Always check the expiration date. If the medicine has passed its expiration date, dispose of it safely and purchase a new bottle.
  • Always check the directions for the correct dose and schedule. Different strength Tylenol products have different doses and dosing schedules, so don’t assume that directions on one Tylenol product apply to other Tylenol or generic acetaminophen products.
  • To prevent acetaminophen overdose or poisoning, check all other medications you’re taking to make sure they do not contain acetaminophen. When taking Tylenol, do not take any other acetaminophen products.
  • You may want to avoid taking Tylenol if you regularly consume three or more alcoholic drinks a day. Regular alcohol use may increase the toxicity of acetaminophen in the liver.
  • To avoid unintended overdose, keep a medication diary or use an app to record when you take each dose. Don’t take another dose until the proper time.
  • When taking a pill or capsule, try to avoid lying down for at least a half-hour to allow the pill to pass through the esophagus.

Tylenol dosage FAQs

How long does it take Tylenol to work?

Tylenol takes about 30 to 45 minutes to start working and achieves its maximum effects in 60 to 90 minutes. 

How long does Tylenol stay in your system?

At the recommended dosage, the effects of Tylenol should last four to six hours. By eight hours, only a small amount of acetaminophen remains in the bloodstream. 

The body rapidly clears acetaminophen from the body by chemically changing it into other substances (metabolites). The rate at which the body clears acetaminophen is measured by its half-life, the amount of time it takes for the body to metabolize half the amount of acetaminophen in the body. The half-life of acetaminophen is typically one to three hours. However, acetaminophen can have a half-life of up to eight hours or longer in people with liver problems or who have overdosed on acetaminophen. 

What happens if I miss a dose of Tylenol?

Missing a dose of Tylenol is not a problem. The missed dose can be taken at any time provided the following dose is not taken for at least four hours. Do not take an extra dose to make up for a missed dose. 

How do I stop taking Tylenol?

If taken at recommended doses for a limited time, acetaminophen can be discontinued without any problems. Acetaminophen should never be taken daily by an adult or adolescent 12 or older for more than 10 days. Children should not take acetaminophen daily for longer than five days. 

Acetaminophen is not a habit-forming drug. However, large doses may cause unwanted side effects or liver damage. Acetaminophen should not be used long-term without guidance from a healthcare provider. 

Discontinue use of Tylenol if pain worsens or persists for longer than 10 days. If fever persists for longer than three days or rises above 103 degrees F, seek medical advice. Also, stop the use of Tylenol and seek immediate medical care at any sign of an allergic skin reaction such as redness, swelling, rash, purple skin, or trouble breathing. 

What can be used instead of Tylenol?

If you must discontinue or can’t take Tylenol because of side effects, allergies, or other considerations, consider taking alternative over-the-counter analgesics and fever reducers such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), or naproxen (Aleve). Consult a healthcare provider for alternative options to Tylenol. 

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What is the maximum dosage for Tylenol?

Because acetaminophen damages the liver, the maximum daily acetaminophen dosage should not exceed 4 grams (4,000 milligrams). However, the manufacturer of Tylenol and the FDA have set the maximum daily Tylenol dosage to 3 grams (3,000 milligrams). This provides a window of safety to prevent accidental or unintended acetaminophen overdose.

What interacts with Tylenol?

Acetaminophen overdose can damage the liver. Acetaminophen poisoning kills more than 500 people in the United States each year and is one of the leading causes of liver transplantation. Do not take other medications containing acetaminophen when taking Tylenol. Check all your medications carefully. Several combination cold, flu, sinus, and arthritis medicines contain acetaminophen. Using one or more of these drugs significantly raises the risk of acetaminophen overdose or poisoning.

Other medications may alter the effectiveness of acetaminophen or increase the risk of liver damage from acetaminophen. These medications include alcohol, anesthetics, barbiturates, nicotine, some types of antibiotics, and certain anticonvulsants. Consult a healthcare provider for other possible drug interactions with Tylenol. 

Foods do not affect the body’s ability to absorb acetaminophen. However, cruciferous vegetables—cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, radishes, turnips, rutabagas, arugula, collard greens, and similar foods—may accelerate the body’s metabolism of acetaminophen, reducing its duration and effectiveness. 

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