Which of the following is TRUE regarding the administration of acetaminophen?
A. The most common adverse effects include nausea, vomiting, and insomnia.
B. The half-life of a therapeutic dose is 12 hours.
C. Acetaminophen can affect platelet function and should be used with care in bleeding patients.
D. Most of the absorption of an oral dose occurs in the stomach.
Correct Answer: A
The most common adverse effects of acetaminophen include nausea, vomiting, and insomnia. Serious side effects can occur by exceeding the maximum recommended dose; these effects include acute liver failure and even death. Dosing should be reduced in patients with liver disease, renal impairment, chronic alcohol abuse, and hypovolemia. The half-life of a therapeutic dose of acetaminophen is 1-3 hours, and its duration of action is 4-6 hours, which explains why acetaminophen is usually redosed within 4-6 hours. Acetaminophen, unlike NSAIDs, does not affect platelet function. Most of the absorption of acetaminophen occurs in the small intestine.
Kaye AD, Cornett EM, Helander E, Menard B, Hsu E, Hart B, Brunk A. An Update on Nonopioids: Intravenous or Oral Analgesics for Perioperative Pain Management. Anesthesiol Clin 2017;35:55-71.