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Acetaminophen overdose

Alternative names

Poisoning from an overdose of acetaminophen.

Where Found

  • Tylenol
  • Anacin-3
  • Liquiprin
  • Panadol
  • Percocet
  • Tempra

Note: This list is not all inclusive.

Commonly found dosage forms and strengths:

  • Suppository: 120 mg, 125 mg, 325 mg, 650 mg
  • Chewable tablets: 80 mg
  • Junior tablets: 160 mg
  • Regular strength: 325 mg
  • Extra strength: 500 mg
  • Liquid: 160 mg/ teaspoon
  • Drops: 100 mg/mL, 120 mg/2.5 mL


  • Body as a whole
    • Sweating
    • Convulsions
    • Abdominal pain
  • Gastrointestinal
    • Diarrhea
    • Upset stomach
    • Appetite loss
    • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Nervous system
    • Irritability
    • Coma
Note: Symptoms may be delayed for 12 or more hours after the acetaminophen was swallowed.

Home Treatment

There is no home treatment. Contact Poison Control immediately if someone has consumed an overdose of acetamenophen: 1-800-222-1222 .

Extreme overdose of acetomenophen can lead to death in several days but can be treated effectively if rapid treatment is administered.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:
  • The patient's age, weight, and condition
  • The name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)
  • The time it was swallowed
  • The amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

The Poison Control or local emergency telephone representative will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. The national Poison Control hotline can be reached at 1-800-222-1222 .

Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:
  • Administer activated charcoal.
  • Administer a laxative.
  • Monitor blood levels of acetaminophen.
  • Depending on blood levels, administer an antidote over a period of several days.
  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis)

Prognosis is related to the amount of acetamenophen ingested and how soon treatment is started. If treatment is started within 8 hours of ingestion, or a less than toxic dose is ingested, there is a very good chance of recovery.

Update Date: 5/23/2003

Todd Severson, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT