Acetaminophen appears in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines like Tylenol® and NyQuil® and prescription drugs like Vicodin® and Percocet®. In fact, it’s found in over 600 medicines – both OTCs and prescription drugs. We often use these medicines to treat colds, fevers, menstrual cramps, migraines and injuries. Because their use is fairly commonplace, we may not connect acetaminophen with images or thoughts of causing health-related problems. There are FOUR FACTS TO REMEMBER before your friends and you go to the medicine cabinet or visit the pharmacy to purchase medicines that contain acetaminophen.

  1. ALWAYS READ THE DRUG FACTS LABEL! Learn to recognize acetaminophen in your OTC medicines by reading the Active Ingredients section of the Drug Fact label. If it’s a prescription medicine that contains acetaminophen, it may be listed as APAP, acet, acetamin or acetaminoph on the prescription container label.
  2. USE AS DIRECTED. Acetaminophen is safe and effective when used as directed. Taking more could cause an overdose and can lead to liver damage.
  3. NEVER DOUBLE-DOSE. Never take two medicines that contain acetaminophen at the same time.
  4. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK. If you have questions about dosing instructions or the medicines that contain acetaminophen talk to your healthcare professional.

Check out the Materials section and Methods Planning Guide of this Resource Guide to learn how to integrate these messages into campus and communitywide outreach efforts.