The Dangers of Mixing Aspirin and Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
Taking Aspirin and Acetaminophen Together
There is nothing worse than being struck by a debilitating headache in the middle of your day when you still have a million things to accomplish. Throbbing pain around or behind the eyes or along the sides of the head makes it difficult to focus, so you reach for the aspirin to relieve the pain.
When a headache makes it impossible to endure the light, sound, and activity of everyday life we may be tempted to take more than just a couple of aspirin. So, what do we do, we pop two Tylenol (acetaminophen) and go about our day.
Everyone does it, so it must be safe, right? Unfortunately, this mixing over-the-counter medications can have lasting and damaging affects on our internal organs.
Let's discuss the dangers of mixing aspirin and acetaminophen.
The Short Answer: Don't Overdo It
Taking the manufacturer's recommended dosage of aspirin and acetaminophen together for a short time has not be shown to cause organ damage. Aspirin and acetaminophen can be taken alone at higher doses without causing damage. So if you need long-term pain relief use either acetaminophen or aspirin, but not both, unless you are under a doctor's care.
Have You Ever Taken Tylenol and Aspirin Together?
Kidney Damage From Combining Aspirin and Tylenol
We have all reached for the aspirin after a night of drinking or when we have a bad headache. It happens to be the number one over-the-counter drug of choice for university and college students, not to mention being touted as a life-saver for anyone with heart problems. However, longterm mixing of acetaminophen (the ingredient in Tylenol) and aspirin can result in renal (kidney) damage. It will not happen if you mix them once or twice, but mixing repeatedly over a long period of time is dangerous.
Tylenol causes the formation of free oxide radicals which damage tissues, especially in the kidneys and liver. This is not a normal reaction to low doses of Tylenol, with but habitual use, especially at a higher dose, can begin damaging the innermost part of the kidney.
The kidneys perform two important functions: filtering waste from our internal fluids and producing hormones that help other organs to function. With repeated exposure to acetaminophen, the kidneys' structural units, the nephron limbs, thicken. This causes the kidneys to slowly lose their filtering capacity.
The chief function of the nephrons is to regulate the concentration of water and sodium salts by filtering our blood, reabsorbing what is needed and disposing the rest as urine. There are 800,000 to 1.5 million nephrons in each of our kidneys. Together they eliminate waste, regulate our blood volume and blood pressure, control our levels of electrolytes and metabolites, and regulate the PH balance of blood. Our kidneys are vital organs.
Are you clutching your blankets in fear? Don't worry. This damage is caused by long-term mixing of aspirin and acetaminophen. Do not make a habit of combining them. If you are experiencing pain that strong or debilitating, you should see your doctor. They can prescribe a medication strong enough to manage your pain.
Mixing Aspirin and Ibuprofen
If you take aspirin on a regular basis but need a stronger pain reliever for a headache, wait either eight hours or 30 minutes after taking your daily the aspirin before using the pain reliever ibuprofen.
Can I Overdoes on Acetaminophen?
How Much is Too Much?
Pharmacists recommend no more than four grams of acetaminophen per day for people without liver or kidney problems—less for people who do.
Harmful Effects of Tylenol
When a Child Is Ill or in Pain
Check the package very carefully before giving a combination of medicines to a child. If you are not certain whether a specific product can be given to a child, or if you have any questions about the amount to give, check with your health care professional.
Facts about Aspirin
- Aspirin is found to be an effective treatment for pain, fever and inflammation.
- An estimated 100 billion tablets are swallowed every year.
- The most active ingredient in aspirin is acetyl salicylic acid, a derivative of a compound naturally found in plants, most notably the willow tree.
- Hippocrates, the Greek physician, recommended that women in childbirth sip a brew made from the leaves of a willow tree to help treat labour pains.
- In the 1970s, aspirin was shown to block a natural enzyme needed for production of natural hormones involved in many body processes, like pain and tissue injury.
- The full effect aspirin has on the body is still being discovered, even today.
Facts about Tylenol (Acetaminophen)
- Tylenol is often recommended as a gastric-friendly alternative to aspirin, which has a history of irritating the stomach when taken without food.
- It is one of the most widely used medicines in the United States, mainly for treatment of pain and fever.
- In 2008, there were nearly 24.6 billion doses sold in the North America
- Is the most common over-the-counter medication sited in unintentional, and intentional, overdoses, which can lead to acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity.
- The risk of fatal liver damage is heightened by alcohol consumption. Even normal doses can cause this rare reaction.
- First marketed in the United States in 1953 by Sterling-Winthrop Co.
- An active ingredient in Tylenol, paracetamol, is extremely toxic to cats and even the most minute portion can be fatal.