The generic name for Tylenol is acetaminophen which is used as a fever reducer and a pain reliever. Tylenol is an over-counter drug available in capsules, gel caps, chewable, liquid, and suppositories. Adults usually use two 325 mg capsules every 4 to 6 hours and not exceeding ten tablets in 24 hours. 4000mg is the maximum an adult can consume. Before consumption of the drug, it is advisable to consult your General Practitioner. You can buy Tylenol over the counter from a certified online pharmacy. (Hynninen, M.S., Cheng, D.C., Hossain, I., Carroll, J., Aumbhagavan, S.S., Yue, R. and Karski, J.M., 2000)
How does Tylenol deals with a Migraine?
Research is still going on to know how Tylenol works. We know what it does to the human body, however. It is considered a Non-opioid analgesic. A Non-opioid analgesic works by obstructing an enzyme known as cyclooxygenase (COX). COX works as a catalyst for converting fatty acids stored in cell walls-arachidonic acid- to substances called Prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins serve several protective functions in the body but can also cause pain, inflammation, and fever. After a cell injury, the prostaglandin causes pain by several mechanisms, primarily where the damage occurs in the peripheral nervous system where the nerves are outside the brain and spinal cord and in the central nervous system. They increase one’s body temperature by affecting the brain's heat-regulating region, which is also called the hypothalamus.
During a headache, we face a similar function where the prostaglandin causes us pain. Still, the Tylenol blocks the COX, which stops the subsequent production of prostaglandins in the central and peripheral nervous system. Hence resulting in relief when it comes to migraine. (Lipton, R.B., Baggish, J.S., Stewart, W.F., Codispoti, J.R. and Fu, M., 2000)
Effects of Tylenol on Migraine
According to a study done by the Department of Neurology of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, most people treat their migraine headaches with over-the-counter medication. A treatment used by incorporating Tylenol is very sparse.
The study was based on a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled oral consumption of Tylenol (acetaminophen). 1000mg (two 500mg extra-strength Tylenol tablets) with an identical placebo to treat a single acute migraine attack. Patients who met the international headache society diagnostic criteria with or without aura were included. Patients who needed bed rest with their headaches or vomited more than 20% of the time were excluded.
After 2 hours, the headache rate for the patients who took Tylenol was 57.8% in the acetaminophen group and 38.7% in the placebo group. Pain-free rates after 2 hours were experienced by 22.4% in the acetaminophen group and 11.3% in the placebo group. The average pain intensity difference from the baseline after 2 hours was 1.08 in the acetaminophen group and 0.73 in the placebo group. At 2 hours, other migraine disabilities also significantly improved.
The research was concluded by stating that Tylenol (Acetaminophen) was very effective in treating pain, photophobia, headaches, and functional disability in mild cases of migraines, excluding the people with severe cases of migraines. The drug also had a good safety profile and was tolerated correctly. (Lipton RB, Baggish JS, Stewart WF, Codispoti JR, Fu M)
Around 1 billion people worldwide suffer from a migraine, and a part of them use over-the-counter drugs to treat it. These headaches/migraine needs to be treated carefully and with the help of medical care. Acetaminophen, i.e., Tylenol overuse, is more common than you think. Frequent use of such drugs could lead to severe cases of headaches and dependency on them. To avoid such a thing from happening, it is advisable to use it in moderation and seek professional help when required.