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How Long Does It Take Tylenol To Work?

How Long Does It Take Tylenol To Work?


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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.


Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

When people are in pain, they want to know how soon they can get relief from an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever like Tylenol. Since Tylenol doesn’t publish expected times for their products to work, many consumers are left confused and frustrated.

In this article we’ll review how long it takes for different Tylenol products to work based on medical research, and if there are any natural alternatives which may be healthier options than Tylenol for pain management.

Time to Work by Product

Regular Tylenol

Regular Tylenol, called Tylenol Family Liquid Medicine With Acetaminophen, should work within 45 minutes based on one of the few medical studies on this topic.

It’s important to note that the study measured time to meaningful pain relief after dental surgery, so the time to pain relief for more minor concerns could be shorter.

Tylenol Tablets (Regular Strength and Extra Strength)

Tylenol sells two popular tablet products for pain relief: Tylenol Regular Strength Tablets and Tylenol Extra Strength Caplets. 

Based on the same study linked above, the time to meaningful pain relief from tablets was 60 minutes. Again, it’s likely to be shorter than this for more minor pain symptoms.

The reason why liquid Tylenol works faster is that liquids are processed and assimilated by our digestive system faster than solids.

How Can I Make Tylenol Work Faster?

Taking Tylenol a liquid or effervescent (dissolvable powder) form of Tylenol on an empty stomach is the best combination for rapid absorption.

As we referenced above, taking Tylenol in a non-tablet form leads to quicker absorption, and taking it on an empty stomach also leads to quicker absorption because the body can digest and process Tylenol alone instead of with many other foods and liquids at once.

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Are There Healthier Alternatives?

Turmeric is an herbal supplement which has been shown in medical research to have a pain reduction effect similar to OTC pain drugs. Turmeric is also associated with far fewer long-term side effects.

We recommend that patients speak to their doctor before considering replacing any drug with an herbal supplement.

The active ingredient in Tylenol, called acetaminophen, causes many cases of acute liver injury annually in the U.S. The vast majority of these cases involve accidental overdose, not regular use, but it’s important to note that this is a compound which can be harmful at easily achievable doses.

We believe that Tylenol is safe for short-term use, but would recommend that patients speak to their doctors about trying to determine the root cause for their pain if they’re needing to take Tylenol daily at relatively high doses.

Tylenol also has inactive ingredients like flavoring agents, sucralose and sucrose which are arguably unhealthy. Health-conscious consumers may want to just deal with short-term pain when possible instead of taking medication for it. 





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