Always follow the dosage instructions in the ‘Directions’ section of the OTC medicine label (Drug Facts label) . OTC pain relievers are generally safe when taken as directed by the label. To lower your risk of liver damage or stomach bleeding make sure you do the following when taking OTC medicines with acetaminophen or NSAIDs.
- Make sure you know the active ingredient in your medicine
- Follow dosing directions and never take more than directed by the label; Don’t take more than one medicine that contains acetaminophen at a time. For example, your risk of liver damage may go up if you take a medicine that contains acetaminophen to treat a headache, and while that medicine is still working in your body, you take another medicine that contains acetaminophen to treat a cold.
- Don’t take an OTC pain reliever for more days than directed.
- Taking more than the recommended dose will not provide you with any more relief.
If you consistently take the maximum daily dose of acetaminophen and still have headaches or other pain, tell your parents or contact your doctor immediately—you may need different medicine or your pain may be the symptom of a different illness. Do NOT keep taking acetaminophen until your pain goes away.
Always check the Active Ingredients section of the Drug Facts label that is on every medicine bottle and the outer-package to make sure you know which, and how many, of the drugs you are taking contain acetaminophen. REMEMBER, getting medication from friends for cold symptoms or a headache is an unsafe practice unless you are able to check the label for ingredients and dosage.
Be careful when using Combination Medicines
Over-the-counter pain relievers paired with other drugs to treat common illnesses are called combination medicines (Tylenol Cold or Nyquil Cold & Flu). It is important when taking combination products that you know the active ingredients so you avoid taking two drugs with the same active ingredient (like taking Nyquil Cold & Flu with Tylenol).