How Long Does Tylenol Take To Work (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Up to 45 minutes

Tylenol or Acetaminophen is a drug used to treat fever and pain. It comes in various shapes and doses and can be used in patients of all ages and medical backgrounds. It has other common names called Excedrin and Feverall.

Tylenol can easily be purchased without a prescription from any drug store. It is an easy treatment for both acute or chronic pain that may include headache, toothache, sprains, backache, and osteoarthritis. An adult can take Tylenol 4 to 6 times a day, not exceeding 4000 mg of the medication in 24 hours.

Acetaminophen does work well for patients with liver illness and a history of alcohol and drug abuse. It is also not fit for patients with kidney disease and phenylketonuria. Exceeding the prescribed daily dose, which is 4000 my per day, may also result in skin diseases such as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, etc.

How Long Does Tylenol Take To Work


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How Long Does Tylenol Take To Work?

Depending on the mode of consumption, Tylenol can take anything from 10 to 45 minutes to work. It can be bought as a tablet, capsule, oral suspension, and oral solution. It can be taken with food or directly on an empty stomach.

Tylenol works faster depending on its formulation as oral preparations first dissolve in the stomach, and then get absorbed in the bloodstream to create an effect. It approximately takes about 20 minutes for oral Tylenol liquid to disintegrate in the body to produce an effect. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes for oral tablets to start working if taken on an empty stomach.

Intravenous acetaminophen can take anything from 5 to 10 minutes to produce its effect. If Tylenol is taken on a full stomach, it may take up to twice the time to produce the same effect. In general, Tylenol takes more time to reduce fever than it does to reduce pain.

Sometimes consuming Tylenol with food can reduce the complementary stomach pains. It is recommended to stick to the prescribed doses of Tylenol and not exceed 4000mg per day. An overdose could lead to serious medical issues such as liver damage or even death.

  • Individuals weighing 110 pounds should not consume Tylenol more than 1000 mg per intake and 4000 mg in 24 hours.
  • Individuals younger than 12 years old should consult a doctor and follow the exact prescriptions carefully. A child must not take Tylenol more than 5 times a day.

Some symptoms that could accompany the use of Tylenol include nausea, stomach pain, dark urine, loss of appetite, itching, skin redness, colored stools, or even jaundice. One must immediately approach a doctor if experiencing any of the symptoms.

In summary:

TypeWorking Time
Oral Tylenol Liquid20 minutes
Oral Tylenol Tablet30 – 45 minutes
Intravenous Tylenol5 – 10 minutes

Why Does Tylenol Take So Long To Work?

Acetaminophen can take up to 2 hours to work depending on the mode and strength of Tylenol consumption. In case of disintegrating tablets, Tylenol starts to work within 20 minutes on an empty stomach. First, the formula gets dissolved in the stomach and then gets absorbed into the bloodstream with help of small capillaries.

In a full stomach, the presence of food and other biological processes decrease the rate of disintegration and absorption of Tylenol into the bloodstream, thereby increasing the working time. The effect of Tylenol lasts up to 4 hours after consumption and then gradually decreases. It is best recommended for fever and pain reduction.

Some of the common symptoms of Tylenol include:

  • Sore throat after 2 days of use
  • Fever after 3 days of use
  • Pain after 7 days of use
  • Skin rash, swelling, nausea, headache, soreness, redness, vomiting, etc
  • Liver failure (in extreme cases)


Tylenol is a go-to medicine for fever and pain relief. It is used by individuals of all ages and medical backgrounds. It is also used to cure headaches, backaches, stomach aches, sprains, etc.

It takes anything between 5 to 45 minutes for Tylenol to reach the bloodstream and produce its healing effect. The working time primarily depends on the formulation of the medicine. Taking it with food can also increase the working time.

The effect of Tylenol lasts up to 4 hours and it is accompanied by many symptoms. Overconsumption of Tylenol may also lead to fatal death. One must consult with a doctor before using Tylenol.



Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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