ZocdocAnswersDoes taking 12 pills of 500mg of tylenol in one day cause liver damage?

Question

Does taking 12 pills of 500mg of tylenol in one day cause liver damage?

I took the pills for toothache but didn't work. so i kept on taking tylenol. i think i took more than 10 pills of a 500mg. this is the first time that i overdose but i have been taking tylenol for the past week but it's just that one day that i overdose. will this cause damage to my liver, or is something bad going to happen 4 or 5 days after? im just really worried. Also i took 6 pills in less than 4 hours. again it's the first time. nothing really bad going to happen right?

Answer

You are absolutely correct that taking too much tylenol can harm your liver. The general recommendation is that you should not take more than 4g of tylenol in a 24 hour period. 10 x 500 mg pills is a total dose of 5 g which is above the recommended daily dose. A one-time dose of that many pills will likely not cause any lasting harm, yet that is without accounting for any other underlying health problems you may have; how much tylenol you were taking in the days preceding the day when you took 10 tablets; and whether or not you were drinking alcohol in the days when using tylenol (as the toxic effects of tylenol are increased when combined with alcohol). Although it is likely that you will be fine, the best thing for you to do at this point is go to your physician's office or the urgent care center for an evaluation. Your doctor or the urgent care doctors can take a thorough history of your tylenol use; check some basic labs; and call the poison control center if needed for additional expert advice. In addition, you can talk to your physician about when it is safe to use Tylenol and when it is not so that you are not in this position again in future. Good luck!

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