Just what is the difference between the brand name Tylenol and the generic acetaminophen? Mass marketing has successfully been able to equate Tylenol with its medical label. Headache sufferers rarely ask a friend if they have some acetaminophen, instead they ask, "do you have a Tylenol?"
Acetaminophen is Tylenol without the fancy name. The ingredient is used to quell pounding headaches and various other aches and pains. It is considered an analgesic suitable for mild pain but not for inflammation (swelling).
If you have ever used any of these brand names, you have taken acetaminophen: Datril, Tylenol, Panadol, Phenaphen, Tempra, and Anacin III.
Some use it as an aspirin substitute and find it suitable for relieving fevers without the stomach irritation. It is different from ibuprofen which helps more with inflammation than it does with pain. For those with a fever or flu-like symptoms, nothing does the trick like acetaminophen.
Chain stores sell their own brand of acetaminophen. Since they can't legally call it Tylenol, usually it is branded as an aspirin substitute, or a "non aspirin pain reliever".
When used correctly according to enclosed directions, acetaminophen is safe to take. However, frequently the drug is abused and overdoses occur when pain relief is not felt immediately. High doses of acetaminophen are toxic to the body. Dosage directions must be followed. If problems persist it is recommended that a visit to the primary care giver be arranged so that the exact cause and seriousness of the problem can be determined.
Unrecognized acetaminophen toxicity is common among patients with acute liver failure. If a sudden onset of ALF is encountered, physicians are encouraged to look for acetaminophen toxicity as the culprit.
Whether purchased over the counter, or in prescription form, caution has to be shown when taking this medication. While it is proven to help with mild aches and fever, it can also have very nasty effects if overused or if taken in the presence of more serious underlying health issues.