Taking Tylenol With Gabapentin

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be taken with gabapentin.

Mar 08, 2018

Howard asked

Can you take Tylenol and gabapentin together? I want to make sure there is no interaction.

Answer

There are no drug interactions between acetaminophen (Tylenol) and gabapentin (Neurontin). Both are types of pain medications, but work differently and treat different types of pain. Below, we will discuss more information about each of these medications.

Information About Acetaminophen

Tylenol (acetaminophen) is an analgesic that can be taken for a wide variety of acute and chronic pain ailments. Acetaminophen has a half-life of 2-3 hours. Acetaminophen gets absorbed at 85-98% and reaches peak concentrations within 30-60 minutes. Typically, acetaminophen can start working within 15 minutes. Taking this medication with food slightly decreases the peak effect.

Acetaminophen can have negative impacts on the liver, especially at higher doses for an extended period of time. Most cases of liver injury are with doses greater than 4 grams per day and the risk increases in patients with pre-existing liver conditions or alcoholism. As acetaminophen is a common ingredient in over-the-counter medications, it is important to understand how much is being taken.

Information About Gabapentin

Gabapentin reduces anxiety, pain, and seizure activity by binding to receptors in the central nervous system tissues. Gabapentin is structurally related to GABA, a brain chemical that generally has a depressive or slowing effect. The half-life of gabapentin is about 6 hours.

Gabapentin was first approved by the FDA in 1993 for seizures and in 2002 for nerve pain associated with Shingles. Usually the dose for gabapentin is titrated over time to find the right dose and may be given up to three times daily. Gabapentin can cause drowsiness, fatigue, and headache in some patients.

Summary

While both acetaminophen and gabapentin can be used for pain, these medications work differently and there is no known risk to taking these together. Acetaminophen is typically used to treat a wide variety of ailments including headache, osteoarthritis, and dental pain. Gabapentin is better for neuropathic pain including fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome. 

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