How Do I Choose the Best Liquid Acetaminophen?

Madeleine A.

Choosing the best liquid acetaminophen depends upon the age of the individual, budget, and personal taste. Liquid acetaminophen is a medication used to treat pain and fever. It is commonly given to children who are unable to swallow pills. Infants can also take liquid acetaminophen via an eyedropper. Adults who have swallowing difficulties may also benefit from the pain relieving properties of liquid acetaminophen, as might those individuals who cannot tolerate aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Liquid acetaminophen comes in a variety of flavors, mainly geared toward children. Flavors including grape, cherry, bubble gum, and fruit punch typically appeal to most people. People who have certain medical conditions or who drink excessive amounts of alcohol may not be suitable candidates for taking liquid acetaminophen. This medication, even when taken in normal dosages, can cause liver toxicity and sometimes even permanent liver damage. The effects are typically more severe in those who drink alcohol or take the medication in higher-than-recommended doses.

The liquid acetaminophen bottle is typically packaged with a plastic medicine measuring cup so that an accurate dosage can be easily poured. Infant acetaminophen drops, however, are packaged in a bottle equipped with a dropper, calibrated to deliver only one drop at a time. Although effective in relieving a baby's earache and fever, some people believe liquid ibuprofen may be more effective and work faster than acetaminophen. In addition, acetaminophen in all forms is available at drug stores and grocery stores. It is also available as a component of some prescription medications.

Although side effects are rare when taking liquid acetaminophen, they can occur, and include drowsiness, upset stomach, heartburn, and nausea. Rarely, a severe allergic reaction can occur and produce difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, hives, and chest pain. If these side effects occur after taking any form of acetaminophen, emergency medical attention needs to be sought immediately. This type of allergic reaction can typically be reversed with the administration of epinephrine and/or an antihistamine.

Labels should be read carefully when taking acetaminophen suspension or liquid and especially when administering them to babies and young children. If the baby throws up after receiving the medication, it should not be given again until clarified with the pediatrician. The baby may have kept some of the medication down, and administering another dose may result in the administration of too large a dose.

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