Not all pain relievers are created equal, and can cause stomach or gastrointestinal (GI) damage. TYLENOL® can be a good pain relief option for those with stomach problems such as stomach bleeding, stomach ulcers, and heartburn.
TYLENOL® (Acetaminophen) is Safe on Sensitive Stomachs, When Used as Directed
For people with a sensitive stomach or for those with stomach problems, TYLENOL® can be a better choice of pain reliever and it’s the #1 doctor-recommended pain relief brand for those with stomach problems. Other pain relievers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause stomach ulcers and are associated with an increased risk of severe stomach bleeding. TYLENOL® doesn’t irritate the stomach like naproxen sodium (Aleve®) or even ibuprofen (Advil®, MOTRIN®) can. With this, TYLENOL® can be an effective OTC pain reliever for those with a history of stomach bleeding, stomach ulcers, or stomach problems such as heartburn. (Third party trademarks are the property of their respective owners).
Can You Take TYLENOL® on an Empty Stomach?
Can you take TYLENOL® on an empty stomach? The answer is yes, you can! You may take the dose with a glass of water, but you don’t need any food in your stomach. Acetaminophen—the active ingredient in TYLENOL®—is gentler on the stomach than NSAIDs.
TYLENOL® & Stomach Problems
If you have a history of stomach problems, TYLENOL® may be a good pain relief option for you. Consider TYLENOL® if you have stomach problems, such as:1,2
- Stomach ulcers
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Stomach bleeding
Acetaminophen can also be found in other OTC or prescription medications, so be sure to read the labels or check with your doctor if you have questions on your medications.
Does TYLENOL® Cause Stomach Bleeding?
Acetaminophen is a non-aspirin pain reliever that is generally safe and gentle on the stomach, when used as directed. Acetaminophen typically doesn’t cause stomach bleeding. In fact, it’s often recommended for people that have a sensitive stomach or certain stomach conditions. TYLENOL® works differently to help relieve headaches, fevers, and everyday aches and pains.
How Does Acetaminophen Work?
Most OTC Pain Relievers work by blocking the production of naturally occuring chemicals known as prostaglandins which play an important role in pain and inflammation. They do this by inhibiting two main type of enzymes, known as COX-1 and COX-2, which are responsible for prostaglandin production. COX-1 also plays an important role in the Gi tract to help maintain the stomach and intestinal lining, protecting them from harsh stomach acid. 3,4
NSAIDs inhibit the COX enzymes to block the production of prostaglandins to alleviate pain. As a by-product, these medications can increase the risk for GI problems like ulcers and, in severe cases, stomach bleeding.5 On the other hand, doctors and researchers believe that acetaminophen may work by blocking prostaglandin production in the brain to alleviate pain. Since acetaminophen isn’t thought to affect the COX-1 enzymes in the GI lining, it rarely causes stomach bleeding or GI side effects.6
Know the Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Bleeding
If you notice any of the following symptoms of gastrointestinal (stomach) bleeding, be sure to seek medical attention immediately:7
- Feeling faint, weak, or dizzy
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Shortness of breath
- Vomit with bright red blood
- Vomit that looks similar to coffee grounds
- Having dark or bright red bloody or black stools
- Experiencing stomach discomfort or cramping that doesn’t get better
You can also learn about common stomach and gastrointestinal issues by clicking here.
Always Read and Follow Your Pain Medication Label
With millions of Americans taking pain medication every day, it is important to always read and follow the medication label and be aware of potential risks associated with such medications.
TYLENOL® & Stomach Safety FAQ
Are you wondering if TYLENOL® is safe for your stomach? We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about TYLENOL® and how it affects the stomach.1
Is TYLENOL® Gentle on Your Stomach?
Yes, TYLENOL® is gentle on your stomach—in fact, it’s the #1 doctor-recommended pain reliever brand for people with stomach problems.
Third party trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
1. InformedHealth.org. Gastritis: How can you prevent painkiller-related peptic ulcers? June 28, 2018. Accessed from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310269/
2. MedlinePlus. Gastroesophageal reflux – discharge. November 2, 2020. Accessed from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000197.htm
3. Saad J, Mathew D. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs toxicity. StatPearls [Internet]. July 18, 2022. Accessed from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526006/
4. Peskar BM. Role of cyclooxygenase isoforms in gastric mucosal defence. J Physiol Paris. 2001;95(1-6):3-9.
5. Brune K, Patrignani P. New insights in the use of currently available non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. J Pain Res. 2015;2015(8):105-118.
6. Gerriets V, Anderson J, Nappe TM. Acetaminophen. [Updated 2022 Sep 18]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/
7. NBK482369/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Symptoms & Causes of GI Bleeding. July 2016. Accessed from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gastrointestinal-bleeding/symptoms-causes
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