What is acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen is a pain medication and fever reducer that is widely available and used in both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) products. Acetaminophen is generally considered safe and effective when used as directed.

Acetaminophen in prescription products is always found in combination with other active ingredients, including opioid pain relievers. These are known as prescription acetaminophen combination products. Examples of prescription acetaminophen combination products include hydrocodone with acetaminophen (Vicodin, Lortab), and oxycodone with acetaminophen (Tylox, Percocet).


Acetaminophen is an active ingredient in hundreds of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines. It relieves pain and fever. And, it is also combined with other active ingredients in medicines that treat allergy, cough, colds, flu, and sleeplessness.   In prescription medicines, acetaminophen is found with other active ingredients to treat moderate to severe pain. Acetaminophen can cause serious liver damage if more than directed is used.