How should parents and caregivers be educated about acetaminophen use in children?

Updated: Jan 17, 2020
  • Author: Susan E Farrell, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Miller, MD  more...
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Answer

Parents should always be given clear dose and formulation instructions based on the age and weight of the child. Preferably, caregivers should use the dropper or syringe-measuring tool that accompanies the product. Parents must be instructed to carefully examine the labels of OTC medications that may contain acetaminophen in combination formulations.

Educate patients and caregivers about the increased potential for renal toxicity associated with concurrent acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) analgesic use or with chronic ethanol use.

Parents and caregivers must ensure proper storage of medications within the home. This is critical in order to prevent unsupervised access to drugs or other toxic substances by children. The goal is to minimize the risk of an unintentional ingestion of a potentially toxic agent.

Supply parents and caregivers with contact information for their local Poison Control Center and the telephone number for the toll-free Poison Help Line (1-800-222-1222). In addition, McNeil pharmaceuticals (makers of the brand name “Tylenol” products) sponsors a toll-free number through the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, 1-800-525-6115, available 24 hours/d, for further consultation and guidance. [25]

For patient education information, see the Acetaminophen Liver Damage Directory. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides patient and caregiver education resources through its Consumer Health Information Website. [26, 6]


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