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What Is Extra Strength Tylenol?

Popular Over-the-Counter Pain Reliever


Updated May 19, 2014

Question: What Is Extra Strength Tylenol?

Extra strength Tylenol is a popular over-the-counter medication used to relieve pain, including arthritis pain. How is extra strength Tylenol different from regular strength Tylenol or Tylenol Arthritis Pain?


Tylenol Selections

When you go to your local drugstore, you will see many different types of pain relievers (NSAIDS, aspirin, acetaminophen) sold over the counter. There is not just one kind of Tylenol -- several strengths of Tylenol are sold over the counter. All products labeled Tylenol contain acetaminophen as their active ingredient and they also contain certain inactive ingredients.

The difference in Tylenol products has to do with the amount of acetaminophen in each tablet, caplet, capsule, or gelcap. Quite simply:

  • each regular strength Tylenol contains 325 mg acetaminophen
  • each extra strength Tylenol contains 500 mg acetaminophen
  • each Tylenol Arthritis Pain contains 650 mg acetaminophen

Directions for Extra Strength Tylenol

Adults and children 12 years and over should take 2 tablets, caplets, gelcaps or tablespoons every 4 to 6 hours as needed -- with no more than 8 tablets, caplets, gelcaps or tablespoons in 24 hours. Extra strength Tylenol should not be taken for more than 10 days unless directed by a doctor.

It must be emphasized -- you should take no more than 8 extra strength Tylenol per day. The maximum allowable daily dose of Tylenol (acetaminophen) is 4 grams (or 4,000 mg) in adults and 90 mg/kg in children. Do the math -- 8 times 500 mg equals 4,000 mg -- the daily maximum you can safely take.

Cost Comparison

As of February 2009, the CVS pharmacy was selling 100 caplets of Tylenol Arthritis Pain for $10.49. Compare that to 100 tablets of regular strength Tylenol for $8.49 or 100 caplets of extra strength Tylenol for $8.99. Of course, generic acetaminophen should be cheaper in all categories.

Bottom Line

The strength of Tylenol you decide to purchase is based on your personal preference. Don't forget to ask your doctor what he recommends. Be vigilant about the cumulative effect of Tylenol. Meaning, many narcotic analgesics and cold medicines contain acetaminophen -- so they count towards your maximum daily allowable amount of 4,000 mg. Pay attention and keep track of your acetaminophen intake.


Extra Strength Tylenol. Tylenol.com. McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Accessed 2/16/2009.


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