How Long To Separate Tylenol From NyQuil

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses how long to separate Tylenol from NyQuil products.

Question

If you take Tylenol, how many hours apart can you take NyQuil?

Asked by Becky On Nov 23, 2021

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Nov 23, 2021
Last updated Jul 30, 2022

Key points

  • Tylenol and NyQuil products should generally not be combined as they both contain acetaminophen.
  • You should wait at least 4 to 6 hours before taking NyQuil if you have recently taken another acetaminophen-containing product (at least 8 hours if that acetaminophen product is extended-release).
  • It is important to follow the specific directions on your drug product and stay within the dosing parameters for acetaminophen.
  • For most adults, the maximum amount of acetaminophen recommended is 1,000mg (1,300mg for extended-release products) per dose and a maximum of 4,000mg per day.

Hello and thank you for your question!

The answer to this depends somewhat on which Tylenol (acetaminophen) product we're talking about, and if you've already taken some doses during the day since Tylenol has a maximum daily amount you should not go over (4,000mg for an adult)

Nevertheless, the key point here is that NyQuil products already contain acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol), so they generally shouldn't be taken together.

How Much Tylenol Does NyQuil Contain?

As mentioned, NyQuil contains acetaminophen, the pain-reliever present in Tylenol.

Both NyQuil and NyQuil Severe contain 650mg of acetaminophen. Below is the drug label for NyQuil showing this amount.

NyQuil acetminophen content

Separating Tylenol From NyQuil

Since NyQuil already contains acetaminophen, they shouldn't, in most cases, be taken together as doing so could put you at risk of taking too much.

Since immediate-release Tylenol products have a duration of action of around four to six hours, you should separate it from NyQuil by at least this amount of time.

Extended-release Tylenol products (e.g. Tylenol arthritis) last around eight hours per dose. Therefore, waiting around eight hours after taking extended-release Tylenol before taking NyQuil would be prudent.

Safe Tylenol Dosing

Now, there are some caveats to what I have written above.

For most adults, the maximum dose of Tylenol (acetaminophen) is as follows:

  • Maximum of 4,000 mg per day
  • Maximum of 1,000 mg per dose (immediate-release products)
  • Maximum of 1,300 mg per dose (extended-release products)

You could theoretically take one 'regular strength' Tylenol product, which contains 325mg of acetaminophen, and a dose of NyQuil (remember that one dose contains 650mg acetaminophen) together and still be under the 1,000mg threshold.

However, a good practice is to not combine two different drug products that contain the same active ingredient, just to be safe. Dosing mistakes are all too common and you don't accidentally want to overdose on acetaminophen.

The most commonly used Tylenol products contain 500mg of acetaminophen per dose anyway (e.g. Tylenol Extra Strength), and taking one of those with a dose of NyQuil would put you over the maximum dosing threshold.

Final Words

I want to thank you again for reaching out!

Please remember to take special care to not combine drugs that contain the same ingredient (acetaminophen in this case).

Overdoses with acetaminophen are, unfortunately, all too common, so it is important to be careful when taking it. Make sure to follow the dosing directions on your specific product.

References

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 11 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Feel free to send him an email at Hello@HelloPharmacist.com!

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