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All about: acetaminophen and aspirin

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Generic Name: acetaminophen and aspirin (a seet oh MIN oh fen and AS prin)
Brand Names: Excedrin Back & Body

What is acetaminophen and aspirin?

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever reducer.

Aspirin is in a group of drugs called salicylates (sa-LIS-il-ates). It works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain, fever, and inflammation.

The combination of acetaminophen and aspirin is used to treat minor arthritis pain, back pain, and muscle aches.

Acetaminophen and aspirin may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about acetaminophen and aspirin?

Do not take more of this medication than is recommended. An overdose of acetaminophen can cause damage to your liver. Do not use any other over-the-counter medication without first asking your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen and aspirin are contained in many medicines available over the counter. If you take certain products together you may accidentally take too much of a certain drug. Read the label of any other medicine you are using to see if it contains acetaminophen or aspirin. This medicine should not be given to a child or teenager who has a fever, especially if the child also has flu symptoms or chicken pox. Aspirin can cause a serious and sometimes fatal condition called Reye's syndrome in children.

Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any symptoms of bleeding in your stomach or intestines. Symptoms include black, bloody, or tarry stools, and coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase the risk of stomach bleeding or liver damage while you are taking acetaminophen and aspirin. If you drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day, do not take acetaminophen without your doctor's advice.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking acetaminophen and aspirin?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin, or if you are using any other products that contain acetaminophen. This medicine should not be given to a child or teenager who has a fever, especially if the child also has flu symptoms or chicken pox. Aspirin can cause a serious and sometimes fatal condition called Reye's syndrome in children.

Before taking acetaminophen and aspirin, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • asthma;

  • a recent history of stomach or intestinal bleeding;

  • stomach ulcer or history of heartburn or ongoing indigestion or stomach pain;

  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder; or

  • liver disease (including cirrhosis).

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to take acetaminophen and aspirin, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. Aspirin can cause harm to an unborn baby or problems with childbirth if you take the medicine during the last 3 months of pregnancy. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Acetaminophen and aspirin may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Do not give this medicine to a child younger than 12 years old without the advice of a doctor.

How should I take acetaminophen and aspirin?

Use this medication exactly as directed on the label, or as it has been prescribed by your doctor. Do not use the medication in larger or smaller amounts, or use it for longer than recommended. An overdose of acetaminophen and aspirin can cause serious harm.

Take this medication with a full glass of water.

Do not take more than 8 tablets in 24 hours unless your doctor has told you to.

If you need to have any type of surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are taking aspirin. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

Store acetaminophen and aspirin at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since acetaminophen and aspirin is often used as needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are using the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and wait until your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of this medication can cause serious harm.

Overdose symptoms may include ringing in your ears, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, yellowing of your skin or eyes, increased sweating, confusion, hallucinations, rapid breathing, seizure (convulsions), or coma.

What should I avoid while taking acetaminophen and aspirin?

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase the risk of stomach bleeding or liver damage while you are taking acetaminophen and aspirin. If you drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day, do not take acetaminophen without your doctor's advice. Do not use any other over-the-counter medication without first asking your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen and aspirin are contained in many medicines available over the counter. If you take certain products together you may accidentally take too much of a certain drug. Read the label of any other medicine you are using to see if it contains acetaminophen or aspirin.

Acetaminophen and aspirin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat;

  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness, fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;

  • black, bloody, or tarry stools;

  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;

  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • fever lasting longer than 3 days;

  • swelling, or pain lasting longer than 10 days;

  • redness, swelling, or other signs of infection; or

  • hearing loss.

Keep taking the medication and talk with your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:

  • upset stomach, heartburn;

  • drowsiness; or

  • ringing in your ears.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect acetaminophen and aspirin?

Before taking aspirin, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin);

  • medications for treating diabetes;

  • gout medications such as probenecid (Benbemid) or sulfinpyrazone;

  • another salicylate such as choline salicylate and/or magnesium salicylate (Magan, Doan's, Bayer Select Backache Pain Formula, Mobidin, Arthropan, Trilisate, Tricosal), or salsalate (Disalcid); or

  • an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), diclofenac (Voltaren), diflunisal (Dolobid), etodolac (Lodine), flurbiprofen (Ansaid), indomethacin (Indocin), ketoprofen (Orudis), ketorolac (Toradol), mefenamic acid (Ponstel), meloxicam (Mobic), nabumetone (Relafen), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), piroxicam (Feldene), and others.

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to take acetaminophen and aspirin, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect acetaminophen and aspirin. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about acetaminophen and aspirin written for health professionals that you may read.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.02. Revision Date: 08/15/2007 2:53:48 PM.

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