what is tylenol

What Is Tylenol and How Long Does It Take to Work?

Let’s face it; life is all about having fun and staying happy, whether you are in professional or personal zones. However, sometimes, we all feel under the weather, either through fever or pain. Undoubtedly, your primary care doctor will prescribe medications that can ease pain and fight fevers. But there is a common OTC (Over-the-counter) medicine you must know about- Tylenol which is used for the relief of fevers as well as minor pains and aches associated with conditions such as headache, colds or flu, toothaches, body aches and menstrual cramps. This medicine can be used in patients of all ages. Continue reading this informative blog to discover more about this versatile drug.

What is Tylenol and How Does it Work?

Scientifically referred to as Acetaminophen, Tylenol is one of the most famous painkillers in the US. Acetaminophen is a common active ingredient found in more than 500 OTC and prescription medicines. In many countries, this active ingredient or product is known as APAP or paracetamol. You would be surprised to know that Americans use eight billion pills of this popular drug each year in the form of capsules or tablets. 

Experts are still learning exactly how Tylenol works but it is believed that this well-known drug obstruct the activity of cyclooxygenase/COX, which are enzymes that produce substances in your body, that result in pain or fever. As already described above, when it comes to getting relief from fever, headaches, and common body aches, Tylenol can be the safest choice. In fact, this popular drug can be taken on a long-term basis by those suffering from arthritis and other types of chronic pain.

Who Should Seek Medical Advice Before Using Tylenol (or Acetaminophen)?

  • Individuals suffering from severe liver or kidney disease 
  • Those already taking another medication that contains Tylenol 
  • Those suffering from alcohol dependence  
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women

What Forms is Tylenol Available In?

Tylenol is a successful drug sold in different formulations. It is available in dissolve packs, liquid gels, and caplets for adults who prefer not to take pills. However, for children, the drug comes in various forms like chewable tablets, dissolve packs and liquids. It is best to speak to your pharmacist or health care provider for more information.

How Long Does It Take For Tylenol (or Acetaminophen) To Show Results?

Many patients think that Tylenol will quickly dissolve and be absorbed in their stomachs. Well, it is not a magical medicine that will soothe your headaches or reduce fever immediately after its intake. In general, it can take up to two or three hours for any drug to break down in the digestive system and get absorbed into the bloodstream.

The time it takes for this popular over-the-counter medication to start showing results depends on the type of formulation. In general, it takes about 40 to 45 minutes for liquid, tablet or oral Tylenol or acetaminophen to start working. Taking Tylenol in the form of disintegrating tablets takes around 20 minutes to have full effect. However, rectal suppositories can take a little longer to take effect (up to two hours).   

The over-the-counter medication typically lasts about three to four hours for fever reduction and pain relief, so strictly avoid taking it more often. It is important to note that it takes longer for this drug to bring down the fever than it does for it to ease the pain. In case your fever doesn’t go down or pain doesn’t go away after two to three hours, talk to your prescriber or pharmacist to determine if you need a different drug or whether a larger dose may be right for you.

Does Tylenol Work Better With Food?

The answer is yes. Now that you already know Tylenol needs to dissolve and be absorbed into your body, and the best way to make it happen is by consuming foods high in protein or fat. That’s why it is advisable to eat high protein and fat foods before taking any pain killers. However, don’t overdo it on greasy and fatty foods as these can cause serious problems like ulcers and heartburn. Tylenol can also be taken on an empty stomach with a glass of water. However, it is always recommended to take any medicine after eating something to lessen any stomach troubles that may occur.

Does Tylenol (Fever Reducer & Pain Reliever) Help Sleep Better?

As you already read above, Tylenol (or Acetaminophen) is a type of drug that eases pain and reduces high temperatures. When taken before going to bed, it turns out it does help you to sleep better. However, if you are having trouble falling or/and staying asleep, consult your healthcare provider about whether this popular pain reliever may be helpful for you

How Safe is Tylenol or Acetaminophen?

We are all familiar with the very useful medicine, Tylenol. But one of the most common questions asked by many patients is whether Tylenol or Acetaminophen completely safe or not? Just like any drug, Tylenol is safe as long as the doses are taken within the limits. Do not commit the mistake of taking higher than recommended doses or extra doses, if you want immediate results. When taken in excess amounts, Tylenol can end up damaging your liver and can even lead to death.  

Since Tylenol is contained in several combination drugs, using certain products together, you can unknowingly take too much Tylenol. It is therefore important to carefully read the labels of other medicines you take to make sure they do not also contain acetaminophen or APAP. Your prescriber can help you with that as well. One must strictly avoid alcohol consumption while using this popular pain reliever as it can increase the risk of liver damage. 

The first signs of a Tylenol overdose include nausea, stomach pain, sweating, weakness, and loss of appetite. Later symptoms may include dark urine, pain in the upper stomach, and clay-coloured stools. If you think you have taken Tylenol in excess amounts, seek medical attention immediately.  


As you know by now, Tylenol (or Acetaminophen) is a very safe pain reliever when used correctly. Taking too much Acetaminophen whether accidentally or on purpose, can lead to liver damage that requires immediate medical attention. If you are taking this well-known drug on a regular schedule, talk to your pharmacist or physician to see what the ideal limit is, for you.

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