Medically reviewed by Cynthia Taylor Chavoustie, MPAS, PA-C — Written by Carly Vandergriendt on June 17, 2020

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Tylenol is an over-the-counter medication used to treat mild to moderate pain and fever. It contains the active ingredient acetaminophen.

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Acetaminophen is one of the most common drug ingredients. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it’s found in more than 600 prescription and non-prescription drugs.

Acetaminophen may be added to medications used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including the following:

allergiesarthritisbackachescold and fluheadachesmenstrual crampsmigrainesmuscle achestoothache

In this article, we’ll look at what’s considered a safe dosage, the signs and symptoms that could indicate an overdose, and how to avoid taking too much.


Can you overdose on Tylenol?

It’s possible to overdose on acetaminophen. This can happen if you take more than the recommended dosage.

When you take a normal dose, it enters your gastrointestinal tract and is absorbed into your bloodstream. It starts to take effect in 45 minutes for most oral forms, or up to 2 hours for suppositories. Eventually, it’s broken down (metabolized) in your liver and excreted in your urine.

Taking too much Tylenol changes the way it’s metabolized in your liver, resulting in an increase in a metabolite (a by-product of metabolism) called N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI).

NAPQI is toxic. In the liver, it kills cells and causes irreversible tissue damage. In severe cases, it can cause liver failure. This triggers a chain of reactions that can lead to death.

According to a 2016 literature review, liver failure caused by acetaminophen overdose causes death in approximately 28 percent of cases. Among those who have liver failure, 29 percent require a liver transplant.

Those who survive an acetaminophen overdose without needing a liver transplant may experience long-term liver damage.


What’s a safe dosage?

Tylenol is relatively safe when you take the recommended dose.

In general, adults can take between 650 milligrams (mg) and 1,000 mg of acetaminophen every 4 to 6 hours. The FDA recommends that an adult shouldn’t take more than 3,000 mg of acetaminophen per day unless directed otherwise by their healthcare professional.

Don’t take Tylenol for more than 10 days in a row unless you’ve been instructed to do so by your doctor.

The chart below contains more detailed dosage information for adults based on the type of product and the amount of acetaminophen per dose.


ProductAcetaminophenDirectionsMaximum dosageMaximum daily acetaminophen
Tylenol Regular Strength Tablets325 mg per tabletTake 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours.10 tablets in 24 hours3,250 mg
Tylenol Extra Strength Caplets500 mg per capletTake 2 caplets every 6 hours.6 caplets in 24 hours3,000 mg
Tylenol 8 HR Arthritis Pain (Extended Release)650 mg per extended-release capletTake 2 caplets every 8 hours.6 caplets in 24 hours3,900 mg

For children, the dose varies according to weight. If your child is under the age of 2, ask your doctor for the correct dose.

In general, children can take around 7 mg of acetaminophen per pound of their body weight every 6 hours. Children shouldn’t take more than 27 mg of acetaminophen per pound of their weight in 24 hours.

Don’t give your child Tylenol for more than 5 days straight unless you’ve been instructed to do so by your child’s doctor.

Below, you’ll find more detailed dosage charts for children based on different products for infants and children.

Product: Infants’ and Children’s Tylenol Oral Suspension

Acetaminophen: 160 mg per 5 milliliters (mL)


AgeWeightDirectionsMaximum dosageMaximum daily acetaminophen
under 2under 24 lbs. (10.9 kg)Ask a doctor.ask a doctorask a doctor
2–324–35 lbs. (10.8–15.9 kg)Give 5 mL every 4 hours.5 doses in 24 hours800 mg
4–536–47 lbs. (16.3–21.3 kg)Give 7.5 mL every 4 hours.5 doses in 24 hours1,200 mg
6–848–59 lbs. (21.8–26.8 kg)Give 10 mL every 4 hours.5 doses in 24 hours1,600 mg
9–1060–71 lbs. (27.2–32.2 kg)Give 12.5 mL every 4 hours.5 doses in 24 hours2,000 mg
1172–95 lbs. (32.7–43 kg)Give 15 mL every 4 hours.5 doses in 24 hours2,400 mg

Product: Children’s Tylenol Dissolve Packs

Acetaminophen: 160 mg per packet


AgeWeightDirectionsMaximum dosageMaximum daily acetaminophen
under 6under 48 lbs. (21.8 kg)Do not use.Do not use.Do not use.
6–848–59 lbs. (21.8–26.8 kg)Give 2 packets every 4 hours.5 doses in 24 hours1,600 mg
9–1060–71 lbs. (27.2–32.2 kg)Give 2 packets every 4 hours.5 doses in 24 hours1,600 mg
1172–95 lbs. (32.7–43 kg)Give 3 packets every 4 hours.5 doses in 24 hours2,400 mg

Product: Children’s Tylenol Chewables

Acetaminophen: 160 mg per chewable tablet


AgeWeightDirectionsMaximum dosageMaximum daily acetaminophen
2–324–35 lbs. (10.8–15.9 kg)Give 1 tablet every 4 hours.5 doses in 24 hours800 mg
4–536–47 lbs. (16.3–21.3 kg)Give 1.5 tablets every 4 hours.5 doses in 24 hours1,200 mg
6–848–59 lbs. (21.8–26.8 kg)Give 2 tablets every 4 hours.5 doses in 24 hours1,600 mg
9–1060–71 lbs. (27.2–32.2 kg)Give 2.5 tablets every 4 hours.

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5 doses in 24 hours2,000 mg
1172–95 lbs. (32.7–43 kg)Give 3 tablets every 4 hours.5 doses in 24 hours2,400 mg