Fast Five Quiz: Acetaminophen

Mary L. Windle, PharmD


July 22, 2021

The maximum recommended daily dose of acetaminophen is 75 mg/kg for children and 4 g for adults. The minimum hepatotoxic dose as a single acute ingestion is 150 mg/kg for a child and 7.5-10 g for an adult. For use to treat pain and fever, these doses are indicated:

  • Regular-strength immediate-release acetaminophen: 325-650 mg orally every 4 hours as needed

  • Extra-strength immediate-release acetaminophen: 1000 mg orally every 6-8 hours as needed

  • Extended-release acetaminophen: 2 capsules (1300 mg) orally every 8 hours as needed

Many nonprescription products contain acetaminophen for treatment of migraine or sinus headaches, cough and cold, or allergies. When calculating the maximum daily dose, consider all sources of acetaminophen, including over-the-counter, as well as routes of administration to avoid exceeding the maximum recommended daily dose. A lower maximum daily dose of 3 g/day is recommended if used for longer durations (ie, 1 week or longer) or if certain conditions exist (eg, alcohol abuse, malnutrition, low body weight, advanced age). A maximum daily dose of 2 g/day is recommended for those with advanced liver disease.

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