Tylenol is a brand name for acetaminophen, an over-the-counter pain reliever sold in the U.S. and other countries. Tylenol has been used for many years to treat muscle aches, toothaches, arthritis and fever. Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant found in soft drinks, tea, chocolate and coffee. Adverse reactions can occur when you combine caffeine with certain medications, so it is important to know caffeine’s effect on Tylenol before taking the medication.
Tylenol was developed in 1955 by McNeil Laboratories and was later purchased by Johnson & Johnson in 1959. Tylenol was developed as an alternative to aspirin, a drug known to increase the risk of stomach bleeding and irritation. Tylenol relieves mild to moderate pain and is available as a tablet, capsule, liquid, rectal suppository or chewable tablet. Tylenol changes the way the body senses pain and helps cool the body during times of fever. Tylenol is sometimes added to cold and cough formulas to treat aches and pains caused by the common cold or flu. Some pediatricians suggest Tylenol for reactions to vaccinations, including tenderness at the site, mild fever and general achiness.
Caffeine is naturally found in coffee beans, tea, cocoa and the kola nuts used to flavor some soft drinks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration report that 90 percent of the people in the world use caffeine on a daily basis in some form. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, meaning it affects your brain and the way you feel. Many people drink caffeinated beverages to feel more awake and energized. Caffeine can also cause adverse reactions, such as rapid heart beat, difficulty sleeping, increased blood pressure and nervousness. The FDA states that two 5-oz. cups of coffee a day are safe for most healthy individuals, but ask your doctor what amount is safe for you.
Additional substances are sometimes added to medications to improve the effectiveness of the drug. Some drug formulas combine acetaminophen with small doses of caffeine to increase the pain-relieving effects of acetaminophen. You can often find this combination in premenstrual syndrome formulas that are sold over-the-counter for menstrual cramps, muscle aches and tiredness. Caffeine and acetaminophen are also used together in migraine headache formulas sold in drugstores. Doses of Tylenol greater than 4000 mg within a 24-hour period can cause liver damage, so monitor all products you take within a 24-hour period that contain acetaminophen.
People with heart problems should avoid caffeine because it causes the heart to pump harder, resulting in elevated blood pressure and increased heart rate. Caffeine can also cause digestive problems by increasing the amount of acid in the stomach, especially with high amounts of caffeine. Tylenol can also be dangerous in large doses, resulting in jaundice, convulsions, liver failure and coma. Unless directed by your physician, avoid taking more than 4000 mg of Tylenol a day and seek emergency medical treatment for symptoms of acetaminophen overdose.