Should I Eat Before Taking Tylenol


Should i eat before taking tylenol? Tylenol (acetaminophen) is the most commonly used drug in America, according to a 2011 Consumer Reports poll. A majority of Americans also report that they have never heard of the antidote, acetylcysteine, but it’s one of the few drugs that could save your life in the case of acetaminophen poisoning.

Most of the problems that generally arise with this medication are those caused by taking it at the wrong time, in the wrong dose, or in combination with some other medications and for a wrong condition.

What is acetaminophen(tylenol)?

Acetaminophen is a medication that is readily available over-the-counter (which means you can buy it without a prescription) in many different dosage forms as seen in the table below. It can be used in patients of all ages and with varying underlying medical conditions. Other names that you may recognize are Tylenol, Excedrin, and Feverall. Sometimes acetaminophen is just one of the medications in a combination medication such as Percocet, Vicodin, Nyquil, Coricidin, Midol, and others!

What is it used for?

It is commonly used to reduce a fever and to treat both acute pain (such as headache, toothache, sprains or muscle strains) and chronic pain (back pain and osteoarthritis). Acetaminophen may be purchased over-the-counter (without a prescription).

Is Tylenol bad for your stomach?

No. Tylenol is safe for the stomach. Unlike nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Tylenol won’t cause stomach bleeding or ulcers. 

NSAIDs lower inflammation by blocking certain cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes in the body. But some NSAIDS also affect COX enzymes that help protect the stomach lining. Blocking these enzymes can raise the risk of certain stomach problems.

Tylenol doesn’t have anti-inflammatory effects like NSAIDs. And it doesn’t appear to affect COX enzymes in the stomach, either. Experts don’t completely understand how Tylenol works. But it is believed to stop the brain from making chemicals that cause pain and fever. 

Can you take Tylenol without food?

Yes, but make sure you take it with a full glass of water. As mentioned above, it’s more gentle on the stomach compared to NSAIDs, which should be taken with food.  

And if you’re looking for faster relief, taking Tylenol on an empty stomach can help it kick in sooner. That’s because food can slow down how quickly your body absorbs it. 

To be safe, only take one medication that contains Tylenol at a time. This will help you keep track of how much you’re taking. Check product labels to be sure. And don’t take more than directed, even if you still have pain or fever.

How to use Tylenol 30 Mg-15 Mg-325 Mg Tablet

Take this product by mouth as directed. Follow all directions on the product package. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

There are many brands and forms of acetaminophen available. Read the dosing instructions carefully for each product because the amount of acetaminophen may be different between products. Do not take more acetaminophen than recommended. (See also Warning section.)

If you are giving acetaminophen to a child, be sure you use a product that is meant for children. Use your child’s weight to find the right dose on the product package. If you don’t know your child’s weight, you can use their age.

For suspensions, shake the medication well before each dose. Some liquids do not need to be shaken before use. Follow all directions on the product package. Measure the liquid medication with the provided dose-measuring spoon/dropper/syringe to make sure you have the correct dose. Do not use a household spoon.

For rapidly-dissolving tablets, chew or allow to dissolve on the tongue, then swallow with or without water. For chewable tablets, chew thoroughly before swallowing.

Do not crush or chew extended-release tablets. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split the tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.

For effervescent tablets, dissolve the dose in the recommended amount of water, then drink.

Pain medications work best if they are used as the first signs of pain occur. If you wait until the symptoms have worsened, the medication may not work as well.

Do not take this medication for fever for more than 3 days unless directed by your doctor. For adults, do not take this product for pain for more than 10 days (5 days in children) unless directed by your doctor. If the child has a sore throat (especially with high fever, headache, or nausea/vomiting), consult the doctor promptly.

Tell your doctor if your condition lasts or gets worse or if you develop new symptoms. If you think you may have a serious medical problem, get medical help right away.

Mixing acetaminophen (Tylenol) and alcohol

As long as you take acetaminophen as directed, you can drink alcohol in moderation. Drinking in moderation means having no more than three drinks per day.

This guideline may sound pretty straightforward, but not all alcoholic drinks are created equal. A standard alcoholic drink contains 0.6 ounces of alcohol. However, the amount of alcohol in different drinks varies. The following amounts each equal one standard alcoholic drink:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces (one shot) of 80-proof distilled spirits, including vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, and tequila

Drinking in moderation and using acetaminophen as directed can help minimize your risks. However, dismissing these precautions can have severe effects on your liver.

How alcohol and acetaminophen affect your liver

Many enzymes in your body break down acetaminophen and other drugs so your body can use them. Most of these enzymes are in your liver. Alcohol can affect the enzymes that process acetaminophen.

Your risk of severe liver damage from alcohol and acetaminophen increases as the amounts of each substance in your body increase. Liver damage can also occur if you take the right dose of acetaminophen but take it for longer than recommended, even if you drink in moderation. It can happen also if you drink too frequently, even when using recommended doses of acetaminophen for the recommended amount of time.

As your body uses acetaminophen, it converts it into a harmful substance. Your liver then processes this substance and removes it from your body. Drinking alcohol while you take acetaminophen causes your body to make more of the harmful substance, and it becomes more difficult for your body to remove it. So, mixing too much alcohol with any acetaminophen (or too much acetaminophen with any alcohol) can make removal of this substance even more difficult. The excess substance attacks your liver. This can cause severe liver damage.

You must be careful if you use acetaminophen and drink. Talk to your doctor before using acetaminophen if you’re not sure if you drink too frequently to use this drug.

Who can take Tylenol and who should avoid it

Tylenol has been proven to be gentler on the stomach than other pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, and can be taken by individuals who have a history of a sensitive stomach or intestinal lining. According to an article published by Harvard Medical School, Tylenol is an important and frequently used painkiller for the elderly population.

Though it is frequently administered to patients with gastrointestinal ailments, there are patients who should avoid Tylenol due to the health risks it poses. Specifically, Tylenol has been shown to cause liver damage if used incorrectly, or with prolonged use (via The Mayo Clinic). According to WebMD, taking Tylenol for more than 10 days for pain, or three days for fever is considered prolonged and unsafe use. If pain or fever symptoms haven’t subsided while taking Tylenol during this time, consult a healthcare provider.

Liver damage can occur within 24 hours, says leading liver disease specialist at UCI Health Ke-Qin Huin. In a 2018 interview with UCI health he shared that, “Severe liver damage could occur if people take more than four grams of acetaminophen in 24 hours. And that’s very conservative, because if taken with alcohol, even two grams can cause problems.” According to a 2010 report, patients with liver disease should not take Tylenol due to the severe and potentially fatal adverse effects that can occur. Given this information, anyone considering taking Tylenol should consult their healthcare provider to assess any potential health concerns or interactions with medications they are taking.

Effects of taking Tylenol on an empty stomach

Knowing it’s safe to take a medication on an empty stomach is one thing, but how does taking Tylenol on an empty stomach impact its effectiveness and bioavailability? And what is bioavailability and why should it play a role in deciding whether to take Tylenol with food? According the Merck Manual, bioavailability is the rate at which and the amount of a drug that enters the circulation system, which in turn dictates how quickly it begins working within the body. Bioavailability is impacted by formulation, dosage, and how a drug is manufactured — meaning that the bioavailability of Tylenol will vary between liquid, tablets, and so on. 

Taking Tylenol on an empty stomach reduces the time it takes to be absorbed by your body and begin working to alleviate your pain or fever. The time it takes to work will depend upon the formulation and route of administration. The oral disintegrating tablets and oral liquid Tylenol will both take 20 minutes to work if taken on an empty stomach. However oral and extended-release oral tablets will take between 30 to 45 minutes. When taken on a full stomach Tylenol can take twice as long to start alleviating pain symptoms, and as a general rule takes longer to reduce fever symptoms (via

The bottom line? Tylenol is able to be absorbed more quickly when taken on an empty stomach, therefore allowing symptoms of pain to be reduced at a faster rate than if it were administered on a full stomach.

Foods to Eat With Medication

Different medications have different instructions for taking them. Some require an empty stomach; others recommend taking with food for better absorption. (And still others discourage some food combinations, such as grapefruit and cholesterol medication.) But what constitutes “with food”? 

According to the New York Times, your stomach is empty about two hours after you eat a meal. So if you’re instructed to take your medicine with food, you’ll want to do it within an hour of eating. 

Here are a few recommendations for what to eat when taking medicines that require something in the stomach. But remember that everyone is different and it’s a good idea to check with your pharmacist or your doctor if you have concerns about what to eat with your medicine. 

Eat neutral foods

As we mentioned before, grapefruit can interfere with some common medicines, but, according to the National Institutes of Health, other citrus foods and juices can, too. Crackers, rice, bread, peanut butter, and other neutral foods do a good job coating your stomach and prompting digestion, which helps your body to metabolize your medication efficiently. 

Time your medication with your meals 

Ideally, you’ll take your medications right before, after, or during a meal, reports The Californian Magazine. But sometimes that’s not an option, depending on your schedule, your routine, or the instructions on your medication. 

If you take your medicine right before bed when you don’t have much of an appetite, for example, it’s a good idea to have a few crackers or a glass of milk. Just a small amount of food to buffer your stomach is what you’re aiming for. 

Tylenol® (acetaminophen) and alcohol: If you’re combatting a headache or fever with pain or cold medicines containing acetaminophen, say no thanks to cocktails. Whether it’s beer, wine or spirits, all alcoholic beverages use the same enzyme your body needs to break down acetaminophen. If you’re a regular user of Tylenol and drink alcohol daily, you should know the long-term risk of kidney and liver disease that can result. Alcohol should be avoided or intake limited when using pain medications. Chronic use of acetaminophen can increase the risk of liver damage and lead to an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.

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