Tylenol and Pregnancy

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Tylenol®, a brand name for the generic drug acetaminophen, is a medication used to treat fever and relieve mild to moderate pain. Tylenol® is available as an over-the-counter (OTC) medication in various strengths, as well as in combination with other medications to treat symptoms of colds, flu, headache and osteoarthritis. Tylenol PM® also helps users fall asleep at night. Tylenol® is available in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, liquids, and suppositories.

There is no link between acetaminophen (in normal doses) and birth defects, nor is it thought to increase the risk of miscarriage. Therefore, regular Tylenol® is thought to be safe for pregnant women. However, other Tylenol® variations may contain ingredients that are not recommended for expectant mothers.[1]

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Brand name for Acetaminophen
Used for Short term treatment of fever and mild to moderate pain relief[2]
Pregnancy Risk Factor Category B[2]
Maximum Dose 4 grams (4000mg) per day[1]
Warnings Overuse may cause liver damage, kidney damage, and anemia in both mother and fetus[1]
Disclaimer The information provided by Pharmacy Drug Guide is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not take any action based on the information on this page without consulting a physician.
Author Susan MacDowell
 
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Contents

Tylenol® for Pregnant Women

Generally, Tylenol® is considered safe for use during pregnancy when used as directed by a doctor for the short-term treatment of fever and minor pain. No medication can be considered 100 percent safe during pregnancy, however, and mothers are advised to use only as much Tylenol® as they need.[2]

Overuse of Tylenol® may cause problems, including liver failure or fetal death. Label instructions indicate that 4000mg of acetaminophen is the maximum dosage that should be taken within a 24-hour period. This includes acetaminophen from other pain relievers as well as cold, cough, or allergy products.[2]

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Tylenol and Pregnancy Category B

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) categorizes medications based on possible harm to a fetus when used during pregnancy. Acetaminophen is classified as a Category B drug. This means that there have been no studies which have confirmed adverse effects from Tylenol® in pregnant women, although there may have been adverse effects noted in animal studies. Acetaminophen does cross the placenta.[3]

Ingredients contained in different formulations of Tylenol® are not as safe as acetaminophen. For example, Tylenol® Cold Multi-Symptom Severe contains guaifenesin (the expectorant in Mucinex®) and phenylephrine HCl (in Sudafed®), both of which fall under pregnancy category C and are possibly unsafe.[4]

Tylenol PM® contains diphenhydramine, the same ingredient as Benadryl®, and is likely safe for pregnancy. Diphenhydramine falls under pregnancy category B.[4]

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Tylenol and Breastfeeding

Very small amounts of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol®, are excreted into the breast milk of lactating women. The amount of acetaminophen in breast milk is generally less than 2% of the maternal dose.[5] The American Academy of Pediatrics classifies acetaminophen as a "Maternal Medication Usually Compatible With Breastfeeding" when used in recommended doses.[6]

Taking Acetaminophen Safely

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Also See: Acetaminophen, Tylenol Side Effects, Tylenol Coupons, Tylenol Recall, Aleve Free Samples, Caltrate Coupons, Aspirin Coupons, Marijuana and Pregnancy, Melatonin and Pregnancy, Botox and Pregnancy

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 http://www.otispregnancy.org/files/acetaminophen.pdf
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 http://arthritis.emedtv.com/tylenol/tylenol-and-pregnancy.html
  3. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/0615/p2517.html
  4. 4.0 4.1 http://cold.emedtv.com/sudafed-pe/sudafed-pe-and-pregnancy.html
  5. http://www.medicinenet.com/acetaminophen/article.htm
  6. http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;108/3/776/T6