Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
People can take these steps to avoid acetaminophen overdose.
Always securely close acetaminophen containers and use child-proof bottles. Keep all medication out of the reach of children and securely locked up.
Know the correct dose of acetaminophen and the amount of acetaminophen in the preparation
being are used. If taken in recommended doses, there is no risk of poisoning from acetaminophen.
Never mix different medications if both medications contain acetaminophen, except if instructed to do so by
a doctor. For example, acetaminophen with codeine and cold
medicine containing acetaminophen should not be taken together. Read product
labels. They clearly indicate the contents.
If you or a family member is
suicidal, remove all medications and dangerous substances from the house and seek medical attention immediately.
If a person is unsure about how and when to take pain medications, ask
a doctor for a plan. Write this plan down and follow it.
When a person is given a new medication, always make sure the doctor knows all of the medication and supplements that
the person is taking, both prescribed and non-prescribed. The easiest way to do this is to keep a written list of medications and supplements and go over it with
Do not take acetaminophen if you consume more than three alcoholic beverages per day. Indeed, if you consume more than
three alcoholic beverages per day, you should consult a physician before taking any pain medications and to discuss ways to reduce your alcohol consumption.