Are You Acetaminophen-Savvy?

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You are taking Tylenol for your headache, and you have a cold that won’t quit. You have two bottles of medicine in your hand — which one to take? One is a store brand cough, cold and fever reliever that contains acetaminophen, the other contains ingredients to treat cough and nasal congestion. Now what was that message you heard about acetaminophen — that’s in Tylenol® and over 600 other medicines — too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage. If you are not sure about self medicating, better ask the pharmacist to help you decide what’s best — and what’s safe to take together. That’s what becoming Acetaminophen-Savvy is all about.

Are you Acetaminophen-Savvy? Test your knowledge about how much you know by answering the questions below. While you won’t get a grade or a score, learning how to keep yourself safe while taking products that contain acetaminophen could save your life. Please note this web page is not interactive; however, you may download the PDF version which is interactive and you can check the boxes as directed.

  1. An over-the-counter (OTC) medicine can be purchased:
    Check all that apply.
    ☐  Without a doctor’s prescription     ☐  Only with a doctor’s prescription     ☐  I don’t know
  2. How often do you follow/read the dosage instructions on the medicines you take?
    ☐  Always     ☐  Sometimes     ☐  Never
  3. Acetaminophen is an active ingredient in:
    Check all that apply.
    ☐  Tylenol®     ☐  Motrin®     ☐  Advil®     ☐  Percocet®     ☐  Nyquil®, Dayquil®, etc.
    ☐  All of the above     ☐  I don’t know
  4. Products that contain acetaminophen are used to:
    Check all that apply.
    ☐  Reduce mild arthritis pain     ☐  Reduce fever     ☐  Relieve the pain of cold/sinus symptoms
    ☐  All of the above     ☐  I don’t know
  5. All OTC pain relievers work in the same way to relieve pain.
    ☐  True     ☐  False     ☐  I don’t know
  6. Please tell us if you agree; neither agree or disagree; or disagree with the following statements:
      Agree Strongly Agree Somewhat Neither Agree or Disagree Disagree Somewhat Disagree Strongly
    Acetaminophen products are serious medicines and can do serious harm if misused.          
    Taking more acetaminophen than directed may cause liver injury.          
    Severe liver damage may occur if you drink 3 or more alcoholic drinks every day while using acetaminophen.          
  7. If I need to know what ingredients are in my medicines, I:
    Check all that apply.
    ☐  Ask my parent/guardian     ☐  Ask a pharmacist     ☐  Ask a doctor     ☐  Read the label
    ☐  I don’t know
  8. I should talk to a pharmacist or other healthcare professional before taking a medicine if:
    Check all that apply.
    ☐  No need to ask because regardless of what I’m taking, it’s safe
    ☐  I’ve been prescribed other prescription medicines     ☐  I am taking other over-the-counter medicines
    ☐  I don’t know
  9. When I decide to take an over-the-counter medicine, I:
    Check all that apply.
    ☐  Read and follow the label dosage directions     ☐  Ask a friend/parent how much to take
    ☐  Take what I remember taking in the past     ☐  Take less than the labeled dose
    ☐  Other (write your responses below)
    __________________________________________________________________________________
  10. If my symptoms do not improve after taking an over-the-counter medicine, I:
    Check all that apply.
    ☐  Take more than the label dosage directions     ☐  Read and follow the label dosage directions
    ☐  Talk with a healthcare professional before taking more
    ☐  Other (write your responses below)
    __________________________________________________________________________________
  11. If I need advice about a medicine, I go to:
    Check all that apply.
    ☐  Friends     ☐  Parents/guardians     ☐  Student health center (doctors, nurses)
    ☐  My doctor or pharmacist     ☐  Professors     ☐  Resident Advisor     ☐  Campus Police
    ☐  My coach or trainer    
    ☐  Other (write your responses below)
    __________________________________________________________________________________
  12. Where on-campus have you gone to get health-related information?
    Check all that apply.
    ☐  Student health center     ☐  Student counseling center     ☐  Cafeteria     ☐  Book store
    ☐  Message boards     ☐  School television or radio station     ☐  School website
    ☐  School newspaper
    ☐  Other (write your responses below)
    __________________________________________________________________________________
  13. Where off-campus have you gone to get health-related information?
    Check all that apply.
    ☐  Local doctor’s office     ☐  Local pharmacy     ☐  Newspaper     ☐  Local TV or radio
    ☐  Other (write your responses below)
    __________________________________________________________________________________
  14. Where online have you gone to get health-related information?
    Check all that apply.
    ☐  Webmd.com     ☐  Online news sites     ☐  Wikipedia     ☐  Mayoclinic.com     ☐  Search engines
    ☐  Facebook     ☐  Twitter
    ☐  Other (write your responses below)
    __________________________________________________________________________________

Confirm your answers by checking out the answer key.