Health Information and Tools >  Acetaminophen: Your care instructions

Main Content

Acetaminophen: Your care instructions


Your care instructions

Common brands: Tylenol, Tempra, Pediatrix, and Panadol

What it’s used for

Acetaminophen is used to treat mild to moderate pain (such as headaches, menstrual cramps, and general aches and pains) and to bring down a fever.

What to tell the doctor or pharmacist before you take this medicine

Tell the doctor or pharmacist if you:

  • have liver disease
  • drink alcohol every day or binge drink
  • take a blood “thinner”
  • are being treated for TB (tuberculosis)
  • have an allergy to acetaminophen

This list does not have all the medicines and health problems that interact with acetaminophen. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about all the prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medicines you take.

What you need to know

  • The daily limit of acetaminophen is 4,000 mg in a day (in 24 hours). Taking more can hurt the liver.
  • For some people, taking acetaminophen close to 4,000 mg every day can also hurt the liver. It is safest to take only what you need and not use more than 3,000 mg a day, especially when you use acetaminophen regularly or every day.
  • Acetaminophen is found in other pain and fever medicines, cough and cold medicines, and arthritis medicines. Read the label before you take any other medicine so you don't take more than 1 medicine with acetaminophen.
  • For pain: Read the label and follow the directions for how many pills to take and how often. Take the medicine when needed and stop when the pain is gone. Your doctor or pharmacist may recommend using it every day for conditions such as arthritis. If your pain is not going away, ask your doctor or pharmacist about other medicine options. Do not take extra doses of acetaminophen.
  • For fever: Take it for no more than 5 days unless the doctor says you can.

When to get help

Call 911 if you have trouble breathing or your face, tongue, or throat start to swell.

See a doctor or call Health Link at 811 right away if:

  • Your urine (pee) becomes dark.
  • You begin to feel very tired.
  • Your eyes or skin turn yellow.
  • You feel dizzy.
  • You feel sick to your stomach or are throwing up.
  • You have sores in your mouth, nose, throat, or eyes.
  • You have stomach pain.
  • You have a red, itchy rash, or swelling.

See your doctor if your symptoms or health conditions don’t get better or get worse.

If you have any questions or concerns about this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you think you've taken too much of this medicine, call the Poison and Drug Information Service (PADIS) 24/7 at 1-800-332-1414 or go to an emergency department.

To see this information online and learn more, visit


For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.

Current as of: August 10, 2023

Author: Poison and Drug Information Services (PADIS), Alberta Health Services

This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.