I did some research on Tylenol, the most widely used pain killer. I found some interesting facts and something that could perhaps save someones life if they try to commit suicide with the pain killer Tylenol or Acetaminophen or Paracetamol. Overdose may result in severe or possibly fatal liver damage.

What I didn’t know is that there is an antidote that could perhaps save that someone’s life. Many suicide attempts are made with Tylenol and unfortunately they sometimes awaken but later die from liver toxicity. Even more interesting, the reasons for this poisoning are to do with the process by which paracetamol is eliminated from the body. It is first metabolized to a quinone imine. This compound is extremely toxic, and like other such compounds is eliminated in the liver by reaction with a tripeptide, glutathione. If insufficient glutathione is available, the toxic quinone will not be eliminated and begins to react with cellular proteins and nucleic acids in the liver, eventually causing irreparable damage. The two compounds, Methionine and N-acetylcysteine can boost levels of the vial glutathione in the liver, and so can be used as antidote for paracetamol (tylenol) poisoning, if the overdose if discovered in time. Article below.

Here are the ingredients from the tylenol website. See bottom of article, I have listed the meaning of the non-medical ingredients to see what the heck they are and what they mean to our health as well:

http://www.tylenol.ca/products/adult/body-aches-pains/muscle-aches-body-pain/tylenol-muscle-aches-body-pain?gclid=CIDB6NbOsqYCFQO8KgodvQmzoQ

Medicinal Ingredient: Acetaminophen, 650 mg

Non-Medicinal Ingredients (alphabetical): carnauba wax, cellulose, corn starch, FD&C red no. 40, hydroxyethylcellulose, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, povidone, sodium starch glycolate, triacetin.

So just what is Acetaminophen? Here is what I found:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracetamol

Paracetamol or acetaminophen

While generally safe in Recommended doses – 1,000.00 mg per single dose and up to 4,000 mg per day for adults/up to 2,0000 mg if consuming alcohol.

Acute overdose can cause fatal liver damage and in rare individuals a normal dose can do the same. * Risk is heightened by alcohol consumption.

*** PARACETAMOL TOXICITY IS THE FOREMOST CAUSE OF ACUTE LIVER FAILURE IN THE WESTERN WORLD AND ACCOUNTS FOR DRUG OVERDOSES IN THE UNITED STATES, THE UNITED KINGDOM, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND!!!!!

Now we can see how serious this little pill really is. Did you notice that the single recommended dose is 1,000 grams, yet their pill contains 650 grams, so you are overdosing each time you take two tylenol together, interesting.

So back to the makers website, I really had to look to find the side effects, they are hidden under the products tab, under the caution tab:

Caution

Keep out of the reach of children. This package contains enough drug to seriously harm a child. Do not use with other drugs containing acetaminophen. Do not take more than the maximum daily dose. Overdose may result in severe or possibly fatal liver damage. Do not take if allergic to acetaminophen. Consult a doctor if: Your symptoms last for more than 5 days; You develop allergic reactions such as wheezing, rash or itching. Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if you: Are pregnant or breastfeeding; Have chronic alcoholism; Have a serious liver or kidney disease; Use any other medications including natural health products, prescription drugs, salicylates or other pain and fever relief medications. In case of overdose, call a Poison Control Centre or doctor immediately, even if you do not notice any possible signs or symptoms such as increased sweating, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and loss of appetite. Use only as directed by a doctor.

There you have it from the Tylenol makers. So I did some further research on Paracetamol. When it is mixed with codeine, it becomes Tylenol. See below. :

http://www.ch.ic.ac.uk/rzepa/mim/drugs/html/paracet_text.htm

Paracetamol (Acetaminophen)


A Chance Discovery

The painkilling properties of paracetamol were discovered by accident when a similar molecule (acetanilide) was added to a patient’s prescription about 100 years ago. But since acetanilide is toxic in moderate doses, chemists modified its structure to try and find a compound that was less harmful but which still retained the analgesic properties. One of these compounds is N-acetyl-para-aminophenol, which is also known as acetaminophen in the US and paracetamol (from para-acetyl-amino-phenol) in the UK. When mixed with codeine it goes by the tradename Tylenol.

Acetanilide Paracetamol Aniline

In fact, in the body, the original compound, acetanilide is partially converted into a mixture of paracetamol and aniline. The paracetamol provides the painkilling properties, but the aniline is toxic. Paracetamol has a very similar structure to aspirin, and because of this they are recognised by the same enzyme. This enzyme is responsible for the biosynthesis of prostoglandins, which are involved in the dilation of blood vessels that causes the pain experienced in a headache. Reduction of the amount of prostoglandin, therefore, helps prevent headaches and other pain.

How it’s made

Paracetamol is one of the most common drugs used in the world, and is manufactured in huge quantities. The starting material for the commercial manufacture of paracetamol is phenol, which is nitrated to give a mixture of the ortho and para-nitrotoluene. The o-isomer is removed by steam distillation, and the p-nitro group reduced to a p-amino group. This is then acetylated to give paracetamol.

Paracetamol as Poison

Because paracetamol is a potent drug that is available without prescription, it is often used in suicide attempts, and in this respect it is potentially more dangerous than other over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin. This is because paracetamol overdoses often cause liver failure, and there have been many cases where attempted suicides have awakened from an overdose and changed their minds, yet still died a few days later from liver damage.

The reasons for this poisoning are to do with the process by which paracetamol is eliminated from the body. It is first metabolised to a quinone imine:

This compound is extremely toxic, and like other such compounds is eliminated in the liver by reaction with a tripeptide, glutathione. If insufficient glutathione is available, the toxic quinone will not be eliminated and begins to react with cellular proteins and nucleic acids in the liver, eventually causing irreparable damage.

However, two compounds, methionine and N-acetylcysteine can boost levels of the vital glutathione in the liver, and so can be used as antidotes for paracetamol poisoning if the overdose is discovered in time. A new formulation of paracetamol is now being marketed in the UK which incorporates methianine, such that the drug carries its own antidote with it!

Here are the non-medical ingredients from Tylenol’s website and their meaning from dictionary.com:

Non-Medicinal Ingredients (alphabetical): carnauba wax, cellulose, corn starch, FD&C red no. 40, hydroxyethylcellulose, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, povidone, sodium starch glycolate, triacetin.

.

carnauba wax car·nau·ba

–noun

1.

a palm, Copernicia prunifera,  of Brazil, having palmate leaves covered with wax.

2. Also called carnauba wax . the hard, lustrous wax obtained from the leaves of this tree, used as a polish or floor wax

cellulose

cel·lu·lose

–noun

an inert carbohydrate, (C 6 H 10 O 5 ) n ,  the chief constituent of the cell walls of plants and of wood, cotton, hemp, paper, etc.

corn starch corn·starch

–noun

a starch or a starchy flour made from corn and used for thickening gravies and sauces, making puddings, etc
Also called, especially British, corn flour.

FD&C red no. 40 (I couldn’t find this in the dictionary but it was in the PAN Pesticides Database – Chemicals)
Even more interesting is why they color the pills:
There is a psychological effect of color – “active” colors such as red or yellow tend to make us feel more alert and “passive” colors such as blue or green tend to makes us feel more relaxed. Depending on the expected effect of the medication, the manufacturer may impart a color to help suggest the desired response. In reality, the color has no effect on the effectiveness of the medication, which is why it’s listed under inactive ingredients on the label.
Which lead me to the red dye website that will give you amazing information on the subject as well as sources of red dye:
Red40 in Pain relievers
Even pain medications may contain Red Dye #40. The reason is based in the fact that there are only four common medications available for over the counter pain relief – aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). Manufacturers need to find a way to to differentiate their product from their competitors, otherwise the consumer is likely to purchase a low priced “generic” pain reliever. Because they contain the same active ingredient as the generic, the only alternative is packaging and branding. By wrapping their pain reliever in a red and yellow striped shell and spending millions of dollars advertising that their colored pill is better than their competitor’s, they can build up product identification, brand loyalty and profits. Increasingly, the generics have diversified to the point where they now mimic the packaging of the product, so you may find generic ibuprofen in either yellow, orange or brown to mimic the leading brands
Now as for Hydroxyethylcellulose, it wasn’t in the dictionary but it lead me to a cosmetic website:

HYDROXYETHYLCELLULOSE

Binder; Emulsion Stabilizer; Film Former; Viscosity Increasing Agent – Aqueous; BINDING; EMULSION STABILISING; FILM FORMING; STABILISING; VISCOSITY CONTROLLING

Also listed as

CELLULOSE HYDROXYETHYLATE; CELLULOSE, 2-HYDROXYETHYL ETHER; H. E. CELLULOSE; 2-HYDROXYETHYL ETHER CELLULOSE; CELLULOSE, 2HYDROXYETHYL ETHER; 2-HYDROXYETHYL CELLULOSE; 2-HYDROXYETHYL CELLULOSE ETHER; AW 15 (POLYSACCHARIDE) ; BL 15; CELLOSIZE 4400H16; CELLOSIZE QP

Given the incomplete information made available by companies and the government, EWG provides additional information on personal care product ingredients from the published scientific literature. The chart below indicates that research studies have found that exposure to this ingredient — not the products containing it — caused the indicated health effect(s) in the studies reviewed by Skin Deep researchers. Actual health risks, if any, will vary based on the level of exposure to the ingredient and individual susceptibility — information not available in Skin Deep.
This ingredient:
no Cancer
yes, weak Developmental/reproductive toxicity
no Allergies/immunotoxicity
no Use restrictions
no Contamination concerns
no Lesser or emerging concerns for this ingredient:
Neurotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive),
HYPROMELLOSE
A highly viscous, water-soluble, non-irritating compound used as a thickening, lubricating and clinging agent. It is used principally as artificial tears (as for example in the management of keratoconjunctivitis sicca) and sometimes as a wetting agent. Syn. hydroxypropylmethylcellulose. 
Millodot: Dictionary of Optometry and Visual Science, 7th edition. © 2009 Butterworth-Heinemann
http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/

MAGNESIUM STEARATE

Renal Complications Demonstrated in Laboratory Animals

The United States National Library of Medicine Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET) lists the toxic effects that occurred when magnesium stearate was fed to experimental rats. In some rats, urinary stones developed, and in others a condition known as nephrocalcinosis occurred, where excess calcium deposits in the kidneys. Nephrocalcinosis is a dangerous condition that may lead to kidney damage and failure.

Human Health Effects

The United States National Library of Medicine Toxicology Data Network lists various potential health side effects of magnesium stearate in humans. The network has deemed the chemical slightly toxic if ingested. There have even been reports of deaths following accidental inhalation of baby dusting powder containing magnesium stearate as an ingredient. In cases of accidental ingestion of a large dose, it can result in acute magnesium toxicity manifested by weakness, a drop in blood pressure and a slowing of the heart.

Other Adverse Effects

The International Programme on Chemical Safety mentions several chemical hazards related to magnesium stearate. In addition to being spontaneously combustible, magnesium stearate is said to emit toxic fumes and pungent smoke when heated. The International Programme on Chemical Safety further enumerates that this can affect breathing and cause the development of coughing. Vomiting can also be triggered as a result of the ingestion of magnesium particles scattered in the air as a result of heating.

POVIDONE po·vi·done

n.

A polymer used as a vehicle for drugs, especially iodine.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Sodium Starch Glycolate or SSG

Overview

Sodium starch glycolate, or SSG, is a common ingredient in many pharmaceutical pills, although it is not a medicine. SSG is the sodium salt of a carboxymethyl ether of starch. It is commonly used as a rapid disintegrant, a chemical that promotes the rapid distingetration and immediate release of orally administered drugs. It coats the pills keeping the medicine in, but releases the medicine rapidly upon contact with water.

Warning

Sodium starch glycolate can be derived from any starch source. For example, corn, rice, potatoes and wheat are all potential sources. Some of these sources, are not gluten-free; for example, wheat. Therefore, medications listing sodium starch glycolate as an ingredient may not be gluten-free. For people in need of a gluten-free diet, such as those suffering from celiac disease, or people with gluten allergies, it is important to determine the exact botanical source of the sodium starch glycolate in the medication before that mediation can be considered safe.

TRIACETIN
Triacetin, triacetate ester of glycerol, is a clear, combustible and oily liquid with a bitter taste and a fatty odor. It is slightly soluble in water but soluble in alcohol and ether. It has properties of both glycerol and acetate. Diacetin (CAS RN: 25395-31-7) and nonoacetin (CAS RN: 26446-35-5) are glycerin diacetate and glycerin monoacetate respectively. Triacetin is found in some food like butter as it is used as a food additive for the solvency of flavourings for the function of humectant. It is used in perfumery and cosmetics for these applications. It is used as an antifungal agent in external medicine for topical treatment of superficial fungal infections of the skin. Triacetin is applied to cigarette filter as a plasticizer. It is used as a gelatinizing agent in explosives. .
http://www.chemicalland21.com/industrialchem/plasticizer/TRIACETIN.htm
So, my conclusion to all this is that tylenol is made up of a lot of chemicals that are used in cosmetics, cigarette filter as a plasticizer, gelatinizing agent for explosives, known toxicity, side effect and can be detrimental to those with celiac disease as sodium starch glycolate as an ingredient may not be gluten-free. Not to mention the adverse and life threatening effects of the medical ingredient of tylenol. This safe little pill sure makes me wonder now about the long term effect and how safe it really is. What about you?
I just learned something myself as I am celiac and I have been told for years to take tylenol.