Acetaminophen, which is also known as paracetamol, is a commonly used OTC (over-the-counter) pain reliever (analgesic) and fever reducer (antipyretic). People use it for headaches, and minor aches and pain. Liver injury from acetaminophen overdose remains a serious public health problem despite ongoing regulatory and educational efforts over the past several years to improve the safe use of medicines that contain acetaminophen.
Fioricet contains acetaminophen 325 mg per tablet. The max dosage of an adult for acetaminophen goes down from 4000mg to 3000mg per day (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/231915.php). So only acetaminophen, you should not take more than eight tablet fioricet per day. IF you take more than eight fioricet tablet per day, you will hurt your liver.
From tylenol website, they lowered the maximum daily dose for single-ingredient Extra Strength TYLENOL® (acetaminophen) products sold in the U.S. from 8 pills per day (4,000 mg) to 6 pills per day (3,000 mg). The dosing interval has also changed from 2 pills every 4 – 6 hours to 2 pills every 6 hours.
Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is generally considered to be a weak inhibitor of the synthesis of prostaglandins (PGs). However, the in vivo effects of paracetamol are similar to those of the selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors. Paracetamol also decreases PG concentrations in vivo, but, unlike the selective COX-2 inhibitors, paracetamol does not suppress the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.
It does, however, decrease swelling after oral surgery in humans and suppresses inflammation in rats and mice. Paracetamol is a weak inhibitor of PG synthesis of COX-1 and COX-2 in broken cell systems, but, by contrast, therapeutic concentrations of paracetamol inhibit PG synthesis in intact cells in vitro when the levels of the substrate arachidonic acid are low (less than about 5 mumol/L).
When the levels of arachidonic acid are low, PGs are synthesized largely by COX-2 in cells that contain both COX-1 and COX-2. Thus, the apparent selectivity of paracetamol may be due to inhibition of COX-2-dependent pathways that are proceeding at low rates.
This hypothesis is consistent with the similar pharmacological effects of paracetamol and the selective COX-2 inhibitors. COX-3, a splice variant of COX-1, has been suggested to be the site of action of paracetamol, but genomic and kinetic analysis indicates that this selective interaction is unlikely to be clinically relevant.
There is considerable evidence that the analgesic effect of paracetamol is central and is due to activation of descending serotonergic pathways, but its primary site of action may still be inhibition of PG synthesis.
The action of paracetamol at a molecular level is unclear but could be related to the production of reactive metabolites by the peroxidase function of COX-2, which could deplete glutathione, a cofactor of enzymes such as PGE synthase.
Acetaminophen is the most common drug ingredient in America. More than 600 medicines contain acetaminophen. These include both prescription medicines and medicines available without a prescription, also called “over-the-counter,” or “OTC” medicines. To prevent acetaminophen overdose, you need to be able to read labels and recognize when their medicines contain acetaminophen. The active ingredients in OTC medicines are clearly listed on the label, and the word “acetaminophen,” is listed on the front of the package or bottle and in the Active Ingredient section of the Drug Facts label. On prescription labels, acetaminophen is sometimes listed as “APAP,” “acetam,” or other shorted versions of the word. To know what is in your medicines, read the list of active ingredients on the label each and every time you take a medicine.
You may be surprised to learn just how many medicines contain this acetaminophen:
Common Over-the-Counter Brand Name Medicines Containing Acetaminophen
- Alka-Seltzer Plus LiquidGels®
- Formula 44®
- Powders Liquiprin®
- Saint Joseph®
- Aspirin-Free Singlet®
- TYLENOL® Brand Products
- *And store brands
Common Prescription Medicines Containing Acetaminophen
- Hydrocodone Bitartrate
- Tylenol® with Codeine
- *And generic medicines
Taking too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage, sometimes serious enough to require liver transplantation or cause death. You might accidentally take too much acetaminophen if you do not follow the directions on the prescription or package label carefully, or if you take more than one product that contains acetaminophen.
To be sure that you take acetaminophen safely, you should
- not take more than one product that contains acetaminophen at a time. Read the labels of all the prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking to see if they contain acetaminophen. Be aware that abbreviations such as APAP, AC, Acetaminophen, Acetaminoph, Acetaminop, Acetamin, or Acetam. may be written on the label in place of the word acetaminophen. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don’t know if a medication that you are taking contains acetaminophen.
- take acetaminophen exactly as directed on the prescription or package label. Do not take more acetaminophen or take it more often than directed, even if you still have fever or pain. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not know how much medication to take or how often to take your medication. Call your doctor if you still have pain or fever after taking your medication as directed.
- be aware that you should not take more than 4000 mg of acetaminophen per day. If you need to take more than one product that contains acetaminophen, it may be difficult for you to calculate the total amount of acetaminophen you are taking. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to help you.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease.
- not take acetaminophen if you drink three or more alcoholic drinks every day. Talk to your doctor about the safe use of alcohol while you are taking acetaminophen.
- stop taking your medication and call your doctor right away if you think you have taken too much acetaminophen, even if you feel well.
Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you have questions about the safe use of acetaminophen or acetaminophen-containing products.