• Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a safe painkiller when used appropriately, and is not bad for the liver unless you take too much. It can cause liver failure in high amounts because- more acetaminophen means the liver (where it is metabolized) produces more of its metabolite, NAPQI. This is a toxic compound- normally the liver detoxifies this compound with glutathione, however, if too much tylenol is taken, then the NAPQI levels will increase as such the glutathione cannot metabolize all of it, and so it accumulates in the liver and causes the damage. If you are taking a high dose of tylenol, you can have a doctor monitor liver enzyme levels in the blood, as the presence of these enzymes in the bloodstream is suggestive of liver damage. Certain medications such as Dilantin and Tegretol increase the liver's metabolization of the acetaminophen and, predictably, create more of the NAPQI. As well, heavy or chronic drinking, sleep deprevation, and mal-nutrition or fasting will deplete the liver's glutathione, making the necessary dose of acetaminophen to cause damage decrease accordingly. If you overdose on Tylenol, firstly the stomach will be pumped to remove any remaining acetaminophen. the antidote Mucomyst is then administered, which indirectly replenishes the glutathione, thereby detoxifying the NAPQI. As well, activated charcoal may be administered, which binds the acetaminophen, thereby deactivating it- however it is thought that this also binds the Mucomyst, and is a controversial step.
  • Tylenol contains acetaminophen, and acetaminophen overdose is the number one cause of liver failure in the United States. It's an ugly way to die. If you get to a hospital within 72 hours of acetaminophen poisoning, they will administer high doses of the drug N Acetyl-Cysteine to you, which will raise glutathione in your liver to clear out the toxic metabolites that the acetaminophen left behind. This will keep your liver from failing completely and certain death. N Acetyl-Cysteine, or NAC, has been used in emergency medicine for years as the standard treatment for acetaminophen overdose. In Europe, it is referred to as paracetamol overdose, and is a common way to commit suicide in that area of the world. Acetaminophen overdose or paracetamol overdose is a very ugly, painful way to die. You can learn more about the precautions for acetaminophen overdose and how you can protect your liver on a daily basis here: Good health to you! LivingWell

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