Acetaminophen Overdose


I just found out that 2 days ago my daughter had a fight with her boyfriend and she took a handful of acetaminophen pills.  Should I have her stomach pumped?


First, I am sorry that you and your daughter are going through what must be a very difficult time.  Unfortunately, intentional drug overdoses like these are common.  There are a couple very important things to think about with an overdose of any medication.  First, you should get evaluated in an emergency department right away to find out if the medicine is causing any serious bodily harm.  We don’t usually “pump the stomach” these days, but there are many things we commonly do to prevent and treat toxic effects of medicines.  Acetaminophen can have some very significant toxic effects when taken in high doses, in particular liver damage.  I would strongly advise that your daughter be evaluated immediately.

Second, if it is clear that no adverse medical effects are happening as a result of the overdose, we always consider why the patient took the pills in the first place.  Usually, a crisis worker or other psychiatric professional will talk to the patient and family in detail to determine if the patient remains suicidal.

I have found that young people sometimes overdose on pills as an impulsive act, or as a call for attention, not necessarily to kill themselves, but they often underestimate the potential danger.  Quite a few patients have unfortunately died as a result of taking acetaminophen pills, thinking they were completely safe.

To learn more about suicide prevention, visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention .

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

morzel 04.03.09 at 11:02 am

very informative

Ska Riggs 01.20.11 at 3:13 am

i’ve taken 1750mg of soma, 7500mg of acetametphine, and 200mg of oxycodone should i fall asleep?

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