What You Need to Know About Tylenol Arthritis

Over-the-counter acetaminophen commonly used to treat osteoarthritis

Tylenol 8 HR Arthritis Pain is an oral analgesic drug that helps control mild arthritis pain. It contains the active ingredient acetaminophen, a non-opioid painkiller, and is available over the counter for use in adults 18 and over.

For people with arthritis, analgesics like acetaminophen can significantly reduce pain and improve daily life. At the same time, using acetaminophen can increase your risk of liver damage and should not be combined with any other drug, prescription, or over-the-counter drug containing acetaminophen.

This article discusses how Tylenol Arthritis works along with what the medication contains. It also covers the possible side effects that can come with taking Tylenol Arthritis and the dosage information you should know before using it.

woman holding medication and glass of water

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How Tylenol Arthritis Works

Tylenol Arthritis contains two layers—one that releases quickly for fast relief and one that releases slowly to provide lasting relief of up to eight hours. For these layers to work properly, you must swallow the caplets whole with water.

There is a total of 650 mg of acetaminophen in each tablet. Regular Strength and Extra Strength Tylenol do not have two layers and contain less acetaminophen per caplet, 325 mg, and 500 mg respectively.

Acetaminophen is an analgesic, meaning it relieves pain. Acetaminophen is not an anti-inflammatory, so it does not ease swelling. For this reason, Tylenol Arthritis is best for osteoarthritis and not inflammatory types of arthritis such as rheumatoid, reactive, or gout.

Acetaminophen is thought to work by interfering with hormones called prostaglandins, reducing pain sensations within the nerve endings, nervous system, and brain.

Tylenol Arthritis can temporarily relieve other types of pain such as general aches, muscle soreness, toothache, menstrual cramps, aches due to cold and flu, and back pain. As with other acetaminophen-containing drugs, Tylenol Arthritis can also help reduce fevers.

Tylenol Arthritis Ingredients

Tylenol Arthritis caplets each contain 650 mg of acetaminophen and several inactive ingredients. Inactive ingredients are those that help deliver the medication into your body or are byproducts of the manufacturing process. They do not have any medicinal effects. The inactive ingredients in Tylenol Arthritis include:

  • Carnauba wax
  • Hydroxyethyl cellulose
  • Hypromellose
  • Magnesium stearate
  • Microcrystalline cellulose
  • Modified starch
  • Povidone
  • Powdered cellulose
  • Pregelatinized starch
  • Sodium starch glycolate
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Triacetin

Tylenol Arthritis Warnings

Acetaminophen-containing drugs are known to potentially cause liver damage if you take too much. Keep your limit to 3 grams per day, especially if you weigh under 150 pounds.

In addition, a 2022 study published in the journal Circulation found a strong connection between the daily use of acetaminophen and increased blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure or are at risk, then this is something to discuss with your healthcare provider.

Taking Tylenol Arthritis according to the directions is vital. 

  • Six caps within 24 hours is the limit, do not take more.
  • Do not take any other drugs with acetaminophen.
  • Avoid drinking three or more alcoholic beverages per day.
  • Do not take if you are allergic to acetaminophen or any of the inactive ingredients.
  • Do not take if you have trouble swallowing large tablets.
  • Consult your healthcare provider if you have liver disease.
  • Get approval from your healthcare provider if you are on blood thinners like warfarin.

As with any drug, some side effects are possible. It’s vital to seek help for severe side effects, but for less serious ones, you can try treating them at home. Some common, treatable side effects include:

  • Dry mouth: Drink water throughout the day and avoid alcoholic mouthwash. Speak to your healthcare provider about solutions if dry mouth continues.
  • Constipation: Try drinking more fluids and eating fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Light nausea: Lay down and apply a cool compress, drink water, and avoid strong flavors or smells. Tell your healthcare provider if nausea gets worse or does not go away after 72 hours.
  • Itchy skin: Use a moisturizer and talk to your healthcare provider about using an antihistamine.

Side effects to tell your healthcare provider about right away include:

  • Bloody, black, tar-like, cloudy or simply unusual stools or urine
  • Reduced amount of urine
  • Sharp, intense pain in your lower back or sides
  • Red pinpricks, hives, or a rash on your skin, which could indicate an allergy
  • Yellowing of your eyes or skin
  • Sore throat or fever that you didn’t have before taking the medication
  • Weakness or fatigue that is not normal
  • Mouth sores, spots, or ulcers
  • Bleeding or bruising that is not typical

Since severe liver damage is potentially fatal, it’s essential to be very careful when taking Tylenol Arthritis. Make sure to follow instructions and know what other drugs you are taking to avoid an overdose. Look at the active ingredients list on over-the-counter medicines and check for "acetaminophen" or "APAP" listed on prescription labels.

Some signs of Tylenol Arthritis overdose may appear over time and not be easily connected to your intake of the medication. You might first experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Liver damage leading to serious health effects like liver failure and death can happen over a few days.

Signs Of A Tylenol Overdose

  • Diarrhea 
  • Swollen, painful, or tender upper abdomen or stomach
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • No appetite
  • Sweating 
  • Pain or cramping in the stomach

Do Not Take With Other Acetaminophen Containing Drugs

To prevent overdose, do not take Tylenol Arthritis with other medicines containing acetaminophen, such as certain cold medications, menstrual pain relievers, and decongestants.

How to Take and Store

Adults over 18 can take two caplets of Tylenol Arthritis every eight hours with water. Never crush or cut the caplets, and do not chew them. Swallow the caplets whole, one at a time, to avoid them getting stuck.

Take a maximum of six caplets within 24 hours, without taking any other acetaminophen-containing medications. If you are unsure whether your other medications contain acetaminophen, ask your healthcare provider. Do not take Tylenol Arthritis for any longer than ten days.

Store Tylenol Arthritis in a dry place with a stable temperature between 68° and 77°F ( 20° to 25°C).

A Word From Verywell

For many people with osteoarthritis, the long-lasting relief that Tylenol Arthritis can provide is truly game-changing. But while it may be tempting to keep taking another dose of Tylenol Arthritis every eight hours, day after day, doing so for more than 10 days at a time is neither safe nor recommended. If you find yourself relying on Tylenol Arthritis to get through your day, talk to your healthcare provider about safer alternatives for long-term pain relief.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between Tylenol and Tylenol Arthritis?

    Regular Tylenol contains 325 mg of acetaminophen and lasts about four to six hours. Tylenol 8-Hour Arthritis Pain contains 650 mg of acetaminophen with a unique double-layer design. The first layer dissolves quickly to release 325 mg of acetaminophen. The second layer is extended-release. Tylenol Arthritis provides relief that lasts for up to 8 hours. 

  • Can I take Tylenol Arthritis every day?

    Yes, but you should be cautious. Acetaminophen, the main ingredient in Tylenol Arthritis, can cause liver damage if taken in large doses. Do not take more than six capsules a day, do not take it with other products containing acetaminophen, and do not drink more than three alcoholic beverages a day while taking Tylenol Arthritis.

  • Is Tylenol Arthritis an NSAID?

    No, Tylenol Arthritis (acetaminophen) is not a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Acetaminophen relieves pain and fevers, but it does not treat inflammation.

11 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Gabay M, Tanzi M. Medications for chronic pain—nonopioid analgesicsPractical Pain Management. 2015;11(3).

  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Tylenol 8 HR Arthritis Pain.

  4. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. Acetamenophen Safety: Be Cautious But Not Afraid.

  5. MacIntyre I, Turtle E, Farrah T, Graham C, Dear J, Webb D. Regular acetaminophen use and blood pressure in people with hypertension: The PATH-BP trial. Circulation. 2022 Feb;145(6):416-423. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.056015

  6. Arthritis Foundation. Analgesics.

  7. Mayo Foundation For Medical Education and Research. Acetaminophen (Oral Route, Rectal Route).

  8. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA warns of rare but serious skin reactions with the pain reliever/fever reducer acetaminophen.

  9. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Acetaminophen. In: LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury.

  10. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Acetaminophen: Avoiding liver injury.

  11. Krenzelok EP, Royal MA. Confusion: acetaminophen dosing changes based on NO evidence in adultsDrugs R D. 2012;12(2):45-48. doi:10.2165/11633010-000000000-00000

By Rachel Macpherson
Rachel MacPherson is a health writer, certified personal trainer, and exercise nutrition coach based in Montreal.