September 4, 2012

How Does Tylenol Work?

Filed under: pain relief — drwatson @ 4:10 pm

Most people have taken Tylenol at some point in their life to either ease pain or reduce a fever. But, have you ever wondered how does Tylenol work? Here’s everything you need to know about Tylenol, including what kind of pain that it can relieve and just how Tylenol works.

What Does Tylenol Do?

Acetaminophen, which is the active ingredient in Tylenol, is a fever reducer and pain reliever. The benefit that it has over other pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen and naproxen sodium is that it is not likely to cause stomach irritation, making it a safer option for many people who have medical conditions or are taking certain medications.

What is Tylenol Used For?

Tylenol can be used to temporarily relieve minor aches and pains such as headaches, toothaches, muscle aches, arthritis pain, menstrual cramps and pain caused by the common cold. In addition, it can help reduce your fever.

For chronic aches or pain lasting longer than 10 days or a fever lasting more than 3 days, you should contact your doctor to determine if additional treatment is necessary.

Tylenol does not provide relief for swelling or migraines.

Are There Different Kinds of Tylenol?

Actually, yes.

There are many different types of Tylenol to serve several purposes such as:

  • Regular Strength Tylenol
  • Extra Strength Tylenol
  • Tylenol PM
  • Tylenol Allergy
  • Children’s Tylenol

Depending on which type you choose, the dosage instructions will differ.

For standard Tylenol, which is Regular Strength Tylenol, you can take 1 or 2 tablets every 4 hours as needed. While you don’t need to eat something along with the pills, you should take them with a full glass of water to help speed up absorption.

How Fast Does Tylenol Work?

Whether it is in liquid, tablet, chewable, capsule or caplet form, Tylenol is designed to quickly break down during contact with your stomach acids. It then is absorbed into the wall of your stomach and into your bloodstream.

While everyone is different, it can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes on average for you to feel the effects of Tylenol.

The more water you drink when you take Tylenol, the quicker it is absorbed and the sooner you will feel its effects.

If your pain is still strong after 30 minutes, then you may want to take another tablet; however, ensure that you don’t exceed your daily limit of acetaminophen because excessive amounts can cause liver damage.

How Tylenol Works

Time to get a little technical.

Once absorbed into the bloodstream, Tylenol works by stopping the cyclooxygenase enzyme from making prostaglandins. Prostaglandins produce feelings of pain and fever so by stopping the conversion of prostaglandins, pain and fever can both be reduced.

This doesn’t mean that Tylenol cures the injury you are experiencing pain from or the illness you have. It just temporarily blocks your pain receptors so you don’t feel it.

If you are pregnant, suffer from liver disease, drink three or more alcoholic drinks a day or are taking other medications, be sure to check with your physician before you take Tylenol. Otherwise, Tylenol is a great choice to relieve pain and reduce your fever.

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