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acetaminophen and diphenhydramine

Pronunciation: a SEET a MIN oh fen and DYE fen HYE dra meen

Brand: Aceta-Gesic, Anacin P.M. Aspirin Free, Coricidin Night Time Cold Relief, Excedrin PM, Excedrin PM Caplet, Excedrin PM Express Gels, Headache Relief PM, Legatrin PM, Mapap PM, Midol PM, Night Time Pain, Pain Relief PM Extra Strength, Percogesic Extra Strength, Percogesic Original Strength, Tylenol Cold Relief Caplet, Tylenol Cold Relief Nighttime, Tylenol Cold Relief Nighttime Caplet, Tylenol Extra Strength PM, Tylenol Extra Strength PM Rapid Release Gelcaps, Tylenol Extra Strength PM Vanilla Caplet, Tylenol PM, Tylenol Sore Throat Nighttime, Unisom with Pain Relief

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

Ask a doctor before taking medicine that contains acetaminophen if you have ever had liver disease, or if you drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day.

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Do not take more of this medication than is recommended. An overdose of acetaminophen can damage your liver or cause death.

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Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other cold, allergy, pain, or sleep medication. Acetaminophen (sometimes abbreviated as APAP) is contained in many combination medicines. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much acetaminophen which can lead to a fatal overdose. Check the label to see if a medicine contains acetaminophen or APAP.

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Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage while taking acetaminophen.

What is acetaminophen and diphenhydramine?

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and a fever reducer.

Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that reduces the natural chemical histamine in the body. Histamine can produce symptoms of sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and runny nose.

Acetaminophen and diphenhydramine is a combination medicine used to treat headache, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, and pain or fever caused by allergies, the common cold, or the flu.

Acetaminophen and diphenhydramine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking acetaminophen and diphenhydramine?

Ask a doctor before taking medicine that contains acetaminophen if you have ever had liver disease, or if you drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day.

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You should not use this medication if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • severe constipation, blockage in your stomach or intestines;
  • untreated or uncontrolled diseases--glaucoma, asthma, heart disease, overactive thyroid; or
  • if you are unable to urinate.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before taking this medicine if you have any medical condition, especially:

  • kidney disease;
  • cough with mucus, or cough caused by emphysema or chronic bronchitis;
  • an enlarged prostate, problems with urination;
  • a history of alcoholism; or
  • if you take potassium (Cytra, Epiklor, K-Lyte, K-Phos, Kaon, Klor-Con, Polycitra, Urocit-K).
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It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Do not use cold or allergy medicine without a doctor's advice if you are pregnant.

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This medicine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Antihistamines may slow breast milk production. Do not use cold or allergy without a doctor's advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

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Always ask a doctor before giving a cold or allergy medicine to a child. Death can occur from the misuse of cough and cold medicines in very young children.

How should I take acetaminophen and diphenhydramine?

Use this medication exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take this medicine for longer than recommended. Cold or allergy medicine is usually taken only for a short time until your symptoms clear up.

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Do not take more of this medication than is recommended. An overdose of acetaminophen can damage your liver or cause death.

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Stop taking the medicine and call your doctor if you still have a fever after 3 days, or you still have pain after 10 days (or 5 days if treating a child). Also call your doctor if your symptoms get worse, or if you have any redness or swelling.

If you need surgery or medical tests, tell the doctor ahead of time if you have taken this medicine within the past few days.

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Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since this medicine is used when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are on a schedule, use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

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Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of acetaminophen can be fatal.

The first signs of an acetaminophen overdose include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, sweating, and confusion or weakness. Later symptoms may include pain in your upper stomach, dark urine, and yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

What should I avoid while taking acetaminophen and diphenhydramine?

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Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other cold, allergy, pain, or sleep medication. Acetaminophen (sometimes abbreviated as APAP) is contained in many combination medicines. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much acetaminophen which can lead to a fatal overdose. Check the label to see if a medicine contains acetaminophen or APAP.

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Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage while taking acetaminophen.

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This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

What are the possible side effects of acetaminophen and diphenhydramine?

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Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

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Stop using the medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeats;
  • severe dizziness or drowsiness, slow or shallow breathing;
  • tremor, restless muscle movements;
  • little or no urinating;
  • flu symptoms, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, feeling light-headed; or
  • nausea, pain in your upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

  • constipation;
  • dry eyes, blurred vision, dry mouth or nose;
  • mild dizziness or drowsiness, trouble concentrating;
  • feeling restless or excited (especially in children); or
  • mild skin rash.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect acetaminophen and diphenhydramine?

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Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can increase these effects. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use acetaminophen and diphenhydramine if you are also using any of the following drugs:

  • acetaminophen (Tylenol);
  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl) applied to the skin;
  • leflunomide, teriflunomide;
  • methotrexate;
  • topiramate;
  • warfarin, Coumadin;
  • zonisamide;
  • an antibiotic, antifungal medicine, sulfa drug, or tuberculosis medicine;
  • birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy;
  • bladder or urinary medicines such as darifenacin, fesoterodine, oxybutynin, tolterodine, solifenacin;
  • bronchodilators such as ipratropium or tiotropium;
  • cholesterol-lowering medications--Crestor, Lipitor, Pravachol, Simcor, Vytorin, Zocor, and others;
  • gout or arthritis medications (including gold injections);
  • heart or blood pressure medication;
  • HIV or AIDS medications;
  • medication for Parkinson's disease;
  • medication to treat excess stomach acid, stomach ulcer, motion sickness, or irritable bowel syndrome;
  • medicines to treat mental illness;
  • an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug)--ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, others;
  • seizure medication--carbamazepine, phenytoin, and others; or
  • steroids (prednisone and others).

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with acetaminophen and diphenhydramine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about acetaminophen and diphenhydramine.


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.

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