Does Tylenol Thin Your Blood?

When you've had a headache, bruise, or felt feverish, it's likely that you've been told to take Tylenol. It can be easy to reach into your medicine cabinet and pull out a bottle of Tylenol for an array of ailments, but how much do you really know about this over-the-counter (OTC) medication?

Tylenol, one brand name of acetaminophen, is a medication that can treat pain and relieve fevers. Other brand names for acetaminophen include Cetafen, Feverall, and Acephen, to name a few (via Mayo Clinic).

Understanding how any medication affects your body, whether it is prescription or over-the-counter, is vitally important. Taking too much of a medication without knowing its impact could lead to unwanted side effects and serious complications. Tylenol is no exception. While Tylenol and other acetaminophen products are generally safe to take, consuming large quantities or taking the medication for extended periods of time can adversely affect your body, reports WebMD.

How Tylenol affects the body

Blood thinners are medications that can be taken orally to help a patient's blood flow more easily through their body. They can help prevent blood clots and other dangerous conditions like heart attacks and strokes, per WebMD. While Tylenol itself isn't a blood thinner, high quantities of it can increase the effects of certain kinds of blood-thinning medications, like Warfarin (via Herald Tribune). If you have any concerns about Tylenol, acetaminophen-containing products, or any other medications, it is always encouraged that you consult with your healthcare provider to ensure your medications aren't going to negatively interact.

So how exactly does acetaminophen work in the body? As it turns out, when it comes to easing aching joints, it effectively blocks pain by preventing prostaglandin production, according to Rxlist. Prostaglandins are substances that lead to inflammation. In terms of fever reduction, acetaminophen interacts with the hypothalamus which is the region of the brain that controls temperature. 

Of course, when you are in pain or feeling under the weather, taking Tylenol may help to alleviate your systems and allow you to feel better. On the flip side, Tylenol is a medication and it is always imperative to know the side effects as well.

Side effects of Tylenol

The primary threat to the body when taking acetaminophen is damage to the liver, according to WebMD. Since acetaminophen contains compounds that are broken down by the liver, taking too much could result in the inability of your liver to properly break down the medication. Consuming alcohol and Tylenol together can also increase toxicity to your liver as both substances are filtered through this vital organ.

After having surgery or if you suffer from chronic pain, it is important to be mindful of how much Tylenol you consume as many prescription painkillers have acetaminophen added to them. Medications with caffeine commonly contain acetaminophen as well (per Healthline). Collectively, you should not take more than the recommended daily limit of acetaminophen per day. The safe amount of acetaminophen that can be taken on a daily basis has been debated in recent years, but it is typically agreed by medical professionals that no more than 4,000 milligrams of total acetaminophen should be taken per day, according to Cleveland Clinic.