There Is More Than One Type of Tylenol
Several different Tylenol bottles are on the shelf in a drugstore. There is regular strength Tylenol, extra strength Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol 8 Hour, and an array of other Tylenol-containing products marketed for colds, flu, sinus pain relief, headache, menstrual pain, and sleeplessness.
Which one should you buy? Well, here is what you need to remember -- they aren't created equal. You need to know the difference.
Similarities and Differences of Various Tylenol Products
All products labeled Tylenol contain acetaminophen as their active ingredient and they also contain certain inactive ingredients. The cold or sinus products likely have another active ingredient in combination with Tylenol -- for example, phenylephrine HCl which acts as a decongestant.
What matters for pain relief is the amount of Tylenol in each of the products. For example:
Regular Strength Tylenol contains 325 mg acetaminophen in each tablet. Adults and children 12 years and over should take 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours as needed -- but no more than 12 tablets in 24 hours.
Extra Strength Tylenol contains 500 mg acetaminophen in each caplet (also available as tablets, gelcaps, or liquid). 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.
Tylenol Arthritis Pain contains 650 mg acetaminophen in each caplet (also available as gelcaps). Adults should take 2 caplets every 8 hours with water. The pills should be swallowed whole. It is recommended that you take no more than 6 caplets in 24 hours. You should not use Tylenol Arthritis Pain for more than 10 days unless directed by a doctor.
Tylenol 8 Hour contains 650 mg acetaminophen in each caplet. Adults and children 12 years and over should take 2 caplets every 8 hours with water -- swallowed whole -- no more than 6 caplets in 24 hours. Tylenol 8 Hour bi-layer caplets are designed to relieve muscle pain fast and last all day. The first layer provides fast relief and the second offers continuous all-day relief.
Beware of Cumulative Effect
The maximum allowable daily dose of Tylenol (acetaminophen) is 4 grams (or 4000 mg) in adults and 90 mg/kg in children. If you are taking a combination of products that contain acetaminophen, you MUST keep track of the cumulative amount you are ingesting.
Cost Efficiency of Tylenol Arthritis Pain
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. Remember, one caplet of Tylenol Arthritis Pain contains the same amount of acetaminophen (650 mg) as two regular strength Tylenol (325 + 325 = 650 mg).
Remember -- all doses of Tylenol are available in cheaper, generic form.
You must keep track of how much Tylenol you are taking and you must take according to directions to ensure safe use of the medication. You can find other important facts and warnings about Tylenol in Tylenol / Acetaminophen: 10 Things You Should Know.
Tylenol Arthritis Pain. Tylenol.com. McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Accessed 2/10/2009.