Judging by the emails we get, lots of our readers take Tylenol on a (mostly) regular basis, and lots of you are worried about its effects. As I already discussed how to take it responsibly in a previous post, now I’ll talk about using it with infants.
Tylenol (which is also paracetamol or acetaminophen depending on your country) is one of the most common drugs in the entire world – basically your go to over-the-counter analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducer). However, when you know that Paracetamol intoxication is the foremost cause of acute liver failure in the Western world, and accounts for most drug overdoses in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand (to name just a few), most people wouldn’t even consider giving it to their infants; is this an overreaction?
The maximum dosage for adults is 4000 mg – but you should never even go near that dosage. If you require that much pain relief, then you probably should visit your physician so he could prescribe something more suiting. The common dose for adults is 500-1000 mg. The absolute maximum for infants is 2500 mg / day – but again, you shouldn’t even go near this value; there have been reported cases of acute liver failure at doses of around 2000 mg. Ideally, you wouldn’t go over 500 mg / day – and you should always check with your physician before administering anything to your infant, and most doctors will never prescribe over 1000 mg / day. However, again, these are the maximum values.
Recommended values for children, as reported by the NHS for infants are:
3 months to 6 months: 2.5ml of infant paracetamol suspension, given up to four times per day
6 months to 24 months: 5ml of infant paracetamol suspension, given up to four times a day
2 years to 4 years: 7.5ml of infant paracetamol suspension, given up to four times a day
Infant Tylenol suspension contains 120mg of paracetamol for every 5ml of suspension, so you get 60, 120 and 180 mg respectively per dose, 240, 480 and 720 mg per day. Parents and/or caretakers are advised to use the dosing spoon provided with the medicine or a syringe to ensure that the correct amount of medicine is given to children. Most doctors also recommend shaking the bottle before giving it to your child.
Also, since Tylenol is very demanding of the liver, it is usually not prescribed with drugs with a similar effect on the organ.
Andrei's background is in geophysics, and he's been fascinated by it ever since he was a child. Feeling that there is a gap between scientists and the general audience, he started ZME Science -- and the results are what you see today.