Extra Strength Tylenol Use and Overdose

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Extra Strength Tylenol is a popular over-the-counter medication used to relieve pain, including arthritis pain. However, you must be careful when taking Tylenol not to exceed the maximum daily dose, as an overdose is toxic to the liver. Learn more about how Extra Strength Tylenol differs from regular strength Tylenol or Tylenol Arthritis Pain.

Sign of Potential Extra Strength Tylenol Overdose

Ellen Lindner / Verywell

Available Strengths

When you go to your local drugstore, you will see many different types of pain relievers (NSAIDS, aspirin, acetaminophen) sold over the counter. There is not just one kind of Tylenol—several strengths of Tylenol are sold over the counter.

All products labeled Tylenol contain acetaminophen as their active ingredient and they also contain certain inactive ingredients. The difference in Tylenol products has to do with the amount of acetaminophen in each tablet, caplet, capsule, or gelcap. This is measured in milligrams (mg).

Strengths of Tylenol products:

  • Each regular strength Tylenol contains 325 mg acetaminophen.
  • Each Extra Strength Tylenol contains 500 mg acetaminophen.
  • Each Tylenol Arthritis Pain contains 650 mg acetaminophen.

Directions for Use 

Adults and children 12 years and over should take 2 tablets, caplets, gelcaps, or tablespoons every 6 hours as needed with no more than 6 tablets, caplets, or gelcaps in 24 hours. Extra strength Tylenol should not be taken for more than 10 days unless directed by a healthcare provider.

Take no more than 6 Extra Strength Tylenol per day. The maximum allowable daily dose of Tylenol (acetaminophen) is 3 grams (3,000 mg) in adults. For children it is recommended to carefully read the packaging and to consult your healthcare provider for proper dosage.

In 2011, the makers of Tylenol lowered the maximum allowable daily dose of Tylenol from 4 grams (4,000 mg) to 3 grams (3,000 mg) to encourage safe usage.

Overdose Symptoms

The generic name for Tylenol is acetaminophen. Ingestion of too much acetaminophen can be deadly because it can be toxic to the liver.

If you have to take Tylenol or acetaminophen for more than just a day or two, consult with your healthcare provider about the source of pain or fever. Please remember that pain or fever are symptoms or signs of illness, respectively. Acetaminophen may provide some immediate relief but is not a long-term cure or solution.

Acetaminophen overdose is one of the most common overdoses throughout the world. Because acetaminophen (Tylenol and other formulations) is sold over the counter, many people incorrectly think that it's absolutely safe.

Always follow the label and take only one medicine containing the same active ingredient at a time. Knowing your pain relievers is important and can reassure you of the safety and efficacy of Tylenol when used as directed.

As with all medications with active ingredients, bad things can happen when you take too much Tylenol. Specifically, the following symptoms can occur if you take too much acetaminophen:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Coma

Symptoms of acetaminophen overdose can take 12 or more hours to manifest. If you or a loved one suspects acetaminophen overdose, it's imperative to go to the emergency room as quickly as possible.

Too much acetaminophen is harmful to the liver. Liver damage secondary to ingestion of too much acetaminophen can either be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term).

Depending on how much acetaminophen was digested and how quickly a person receives treatment (eight hours or fewer), a person can recover from acute acetaminophen overdose.

A Word From Verywell

The strength of Tylenol you decide to purchase is based on your personal preference. Don't forget to ask your healthcare provider and pharmacist for their best recommendation. Extra Strength Tylenol is relatively inexpensive. Of course, generic acetaminophen should be cheaper in all categories.

Be vigilant about the cumulative effect of Tylenol. Meaning, many narcotic analgesics, and cold medicines contain acetaminophen—so they count towards your maximum daily allowable amount of 3,000 mg. Pay attention and keep track of your acetaminophen intake.

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5 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.
  1. Tylenol. Products. Updated 2019.

  2. Johnson and Johnson Consumer Information. Tylenol dosage for adults. 2019.

  3. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Acetaminophen toxicity symptoms and treatment. Updated 2019.

  4. Rubin JB, Hameed B, Gottfried M, Lee WM, Sarkar M; Acute Liver Failure Study Group. Acetaminophen-induced acute liver failure is more common and more severe in womenClin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018;16(6):936-946. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2017.11.042

  5. Yglesias, M. Step away from Tylenol. Slate. June 27, 2013.