Why am I allergic to Tylenol?
August 15, 2007 6:45 PM   Subscribe

Why am I allergic to tylenol (all its forms: tylenol cold, tylenol allergy, regualr tylenol, etc.), but I am not allergic to other medicines including acetaminophen?

I am ridiculously allergic to Tylenol. It makes my hands the the bottoms of my feet swell, itch and burn. I also get a hive-like rash on my arms, my tongue swells and itches and my lips swell and burn.

It took me a long time to discover the tylenol allergy because I always took tylenol for pain and never had any trouble. A few years ago, I started noticing the rash/swelling at what I thought was random times. I finally realized tylenol was causing it. It may or may not be relevant that at about this same time, I also became allergic to antibiotics I used to be able to take with no trouble).

I have no plans to take tylenol anymore, in fact every time I forget and take it, the reaction gets worse, so I am not looking for advice on minimizing the reaction. However, I am curious why I have this reaction to tylenol and no other otc pain medicine with the same active ingredient. Any ideas? Anyone else allergic to Tylenol?
posted by birdlady to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
maybe you are allergic to one of the inactive ingredients, like one of the binders. an allergist will be able to tell you.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:48 PM on August 15, 2007

You could compare the inactive ingredients in Tylenol to the inactive ingredients of the OTC meds to narrow down what you're allergic to.
posted by rancidchickn at 7:11 PM on August 15, 2007

This isn't helpful, but I'm allergic to every painkiller except acetaminophen. Let me assure you, you got the good ones. I, like thinkingwoman, suspect that you need to take a look at the inactive ingredients. If you're adventurous, you could even try to get ahold of all of them and try tiny amounts, until you found the thing that causes swelling and rashes. If you're less adventurous, you could find a generic acetaminophen that doesn't mess you up, compare inactive ingredients, and just avoid any that are on the allergic-meds list and not the other list.

The really weird thing is that I've had the swelling, burning lip reaction to ibuprofen. It's like we're opposites!
posted by crinklebat at 7:18 PM on August 15, 2007

you know, do go to an allergist and get a diagnosis. this sounds like a bad allergy, and the offender might be in other things you just haven't encountered yet.

also, if you are ever hospitalized, this would be important to have on your chart.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:48 PM on August 15, 2007

See the allergist. This kind of stuff should not be messed around with. And probably get an Epi pen.
posted by rbs at 8:48 PM on August 15, 2007

I would also look at the dyes used in name-brand Tylenol vs. generic acetaminophen. Regular Benadryl makes me feel awful and gives me a itchy, tingly, flushed feeling, but the dye-free Benadryl doesn't give me any of these problems. Tylenol-brand stuff usually looks a bit "prettier" than the generic, and I would bet they use more dyes.
posted by Benjy at 11:15 PM on August 15, 2007

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