Tylenol PM is a commonly used, over-the-counter treatment for pain and insomnia. Is it safe?
If you suffer from back pain or other painful condition that keeps you awake at night, you may be tempted to reach for the bottle of Tylenol PM. Tylenol PM is an over-the-counter medication that combines acetaminophen with an antihistamine known as diphenhydramine. This special combination allows it to relieve pain while helping to promote sleep. In fact, Tylenol PM is often marketed as a non-addictive sleep aid. Although it’s effective, is Tylenol PM safe?
Tylenol PM offers some advantages over other prescription and non-prescription sleep aids since it contains only acetaminophen and diphenhydramine, neither of which are addictive. From this standpoint, Tylenol PM is safer to use than many other sleep aids which contain ingredients that can be habit forming. Unfortunately, antihistamines such as the diphenhydramine found in Tylenol PM give mixed results when it comes to promoting sleep. Even though they make it easier to fall asleep, many antihistamine users report frequent awakenings and grogginess the next day. Other Tylenol PM effects can include confusion, disorientation, and dizziness which are commonly seen with the use of antihistamines for sleep. Although Tylenol PM is safe overall as a night time insomnia aid, some people feel excessively sleepy the next day which could interfere with their ability to drive or operate machinery safely.
In terms of using Tylenol PM for pain relief, many people are unaware that taking high doses of acetaminophen products or using them for long periods of time can increase the risk of liver damage. This is particularly true when there’s pre-existing liver disease or alcohol use. Taking Tylenol with other drugs that are broken down by the liver can also increase the risk of liver toxicity. Use of acetaminophen accounts for almost forty percent of all cases of liver failure in this country which shows how unaware people are of the dangers of this medication. The sad reality is that some of these cases are irreversible and require liver transplantation.
How can you avoid Tylenol PM effects on the liver and still get the benefits? When you take any type of acetaminophen product, avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol places additional stress on the liver and can increase the risk of liver damage. Never use Tylenol PM or any other acetaminophen product as a long term treatment for insomnia or pain. If you have chronic problems with sleep or pain control, see your doctor who may be able to give you a safer prescription medication for longer term use. If you’re on prescription medications, check with your doctor first to make sure that Tylenol PM can be used with them safely.
Keep in mind that just because Tylenol PM is available over-the-counter doesn’t mean it’s safe for long term use. Don’t take chances with your liver or your health. Be aware of the side effects of Tylenol PM.