Health Encyclopedia > Medications

acetaminophen and pseudoephedrine

Pronunciation: a SEET a MIN oh fen and SOO doe ee FED rin

Brand: Alka-Seltzer Cold and Sinus, Allerest No Drowsiness, Bayer Select Decongestant, Benadryl Allergy Sinus Headache, Dristan Cold Non-Drowsy, Ornex, Ornex Maximum Strength, Sinarest Sinus, Sine-Off Maximum Strength, Tavist Sinus, Triaminic Softchews Allergy Sinus

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

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 medicine if you have untreated or uncontrolled diseases such as glaucoma, asthma or COPD, high blood pressure, heart disease, coronary artery disease, or overactive thyroid.

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

Do not use cold medicine if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include furazolidone, isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine.

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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.

What is acetaminophen and pseudoephedrine?

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and a fever reducer.

Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant that shrinks blood vessels in the nasal passages. Dilated blood vessels can cause nasal congestion (stuffy nose).

Acetaminophen and pseudoephedrine is a combination medicine used to treat headache, fever, body aches, stuffy nose, and sinus congestion caused by allergies, the common cold, or the flu.

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

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

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 medicine if you are allergic to acetaminophen (Tylenol) or pseudoephedrine, or if you have untreated or uncontrolled diseases such as glaucoma, asthma or COPD, high blood pressure, heart disease, coronary artery disease, or overactive thyroid.

Do not use cough or cold medicine if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include furazolidone, isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take acetaminophen and pseudoephedrine if you have:

  • liver disease, cirrhosis, or a history of alcoholism;
  • diabetes;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
  • pheochromocytoma (an adrenal gland tumor); or
  • enlarged prostate or urination problems.
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It is not known whether acetaminophen and pseudoephedrine will harm an unborn baby. Do not use cough or cold medicine without a doctor's advice if you are pregnant.

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Acetaminophen and pseudoephedrine may pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Decongestants may also slow breast milk production. Do not use cough or cold medicine without a doctor's advice if you are pregnant.

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Always ask a doctor before giving a cough or cold 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 pseudoephedrine?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use for longer than recommended. Cold 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.

The chewable tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.

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Stop taking the medicine and call your doctor if you still have a fever after 3 days of use, you still have pain after 7 days (or 5 days if treating a child), if your symptoms get worse, or if you have a skin rash, ongoing headache, or any redness or swelling.

If you need surgery or medical tests, tell the surgeon or 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 taken when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take 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 pseudoephedrine?

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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.

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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.

Multum noalcohol

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

What are the possible side effects of acetaminophen and pseudoephedrine?

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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, slow, or uneven heart rate;
  • confusion, hallucinations;
  • tremor, seizure (convulsions);
  • little or no urinating;
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, seizure).

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness, weakness;
  • mild headache;
  • mild nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach;
  • runny nose;
  • feeling nervous, restless, or anxious; or
  • sleep problems (insomnia).

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 pseudoephedrine?

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

  • methotrexate;
  • an antibiotic, antifungal medicine, sulfa drug, or tuberculosis medicine;
  • birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy;
  • heart or blood pressure medication;
  • cholesterol-lowering medications--Crestor, Lipitor, Pravachol, Simcor, Vytorin, Zocor, and others;
  • gout or arthritis medications (including gold injections);
  • HIV or AIDS medication;
  • 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 pseudoephedrine, 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 pseudoephedrine.


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.

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