How is acetamenophen / tylenol made?

Can you tell me how they make this medication? Is it plant derived or
chemical? Thank you for your time and God bless you.

Carole Douglas

Posted Answers


Tylenol Caplets:
Inactive ingredients:
Corn starch, hydroxyethyl cellulose, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, powdered cellulose, pregelatinized starch, sodium starch glycolate, titanium dioxide, triacetin

 Answer by prokopton


You might also want to contact Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Tylenol.

 Answer by prokopton


Have a read here:

Acetaminophen: "Merck Index," 12th Ed., entry #45 and references therein.
How you synthesize it depends upon what you are given as starting
Also see "Dictionary of Organic Compounds."

Clickable list of search engines on my Web page,

Natural Supplements & Synthetic Drugs: How well do they interact?

No longer are Canadians blindly accepting pharmaceutically-backed scientific studies as truth. People's experiences, not corporate board rooms, are creating a new demand for healing substances that are less toxic than what their doctors push. With this demand arises a new challenge, created by the interactions of synthetic medicines with nature's remedies.

The potential for interactions between drugs, herbs, minerals, nutraceuticals, pesticides and other made made substances are astronomical and difficult to keep track of. Some of these interactions produce negative effects while others are beneficial. Here are a few to get you thinking.

Accutane(R) (Isotretinoin) with Vitamin A

Accutane(R) (Isotretinoin) is a modified vitamin A molecule used to treat severe acne. Although little is known about how real vitamin A and Accutane interact, they are both structurally similar. But they have the potential to produce adverse effects from an increased dosage caused by mixing the two. It makes common sense for people to avoid vitamin A supplements, which are greater than the 10,000 IU per day, typically found in a multivitamin. It is important to also be careful of beta-carotene supplementation for the same reason: beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A.

Acetaminophen and Friends

Acetaminophen (Tylenol(R), Excedrim PM(R) and others) is not only used extensively in over the counter preparations but in many prescription painkillers such as Percocet(R), Roxicet(R) and Tylenol(R) with codeine. Like many drugs, the overuse or misuse of this drug can result in liver damage, among other things. Hospitals use oral and intravenous N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) to treat liver damage induced by acetaminophen overdose poisoning.

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) contains complex flavonoids found to elevate liver glutathione levels in rats. It is believed that acetaminophen's liver damage capabilities are related to its ability to deplete glutiothione levels. In one study involving rats, milk thistle protected against acetaminophen-induced glutathione depletion.

The Chinese herb shisandra (Schisandra chinensis) also protects the liver against acetaminophen liver damage but not by the same mechanism as milk thistle.

On the flip side, extract of ginkgo biloba may induce spontaneous bleeding when combined with chronic use of aspirin. Although ginkgo biloba is marketed to improve mental alertness, it is a potent inhibitor of platelet-activating factor and longterm use has been associated with increased bleeding time, spontaneous haemorrahage, and subdual haematomas.

Lovastatin (Mevacor(R)) and Coenzyme Q(10)

The high cholesterol issue is gravely overrated. It has led the public to believe that elevated cholesterol is the major reason for heart disease and that, by lowering it everything will be all right. As a result, people with cholesterol levels that, 10 years ago, would not have raised the eyebrow of an astute practitioner, are put on drugs such as lovastatin (or pravastatin) for life. This family of drugs -- the statins -- top the list of frequently-prescribed and not always necessary drugs. They have been shown to be effective at lowering cholesterol -- but they are expensive and fraught with serious side effects. There is well-documented research that the statins increase liver transaminases in the blood, indicative of liver damage.

A patient put on a cholesterol lowering drug for life -- which may or may not affect his/her life expectancy -- could end up dying or suffering from liver damage.

Equally alarming is the ability of the "statin" drugs to affect coenzymeQ(10) (CoQ(10)) levels. In a randomized, double blind trial, blood levels of CoQ(10) were measured in people treated with lovastatin or pravastatin for 18 weeks. A significant decline in blood levels of CoQ(10) was reported with both drugs. This is doubly troublesome for older patients who likely already have low blood levels of CoQ(10). A great wealth of medical research on CoQ(10) has revealed its importance in a healthy functioning heart, especially for people with congestive heart failure.

Oral Contraceptives and Nutrients

Oral contraceptives include Loestrin(R), Brevicon(R), Norinyl(R), Ortho-Novum(R), Triphasil(R) and others. They contain either a combination of estrogens and progestins or only progestins. Though usually prescribed to prevent pregnancy, they are also given to women with menstrual irregularities, endometriosis or to women taking accutane for acne. Folic acid is depleted when these contraceptives are used. In a three-month, double blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral contraceptive users with cervical dysplasia; supplementation with very large doses (10,000 mcg) of folic acid improved cervical health.

When using oral contraceptives, menstrual blood flow is typically reduced. This can lead to increased iron stores and possibly a decreased need for iron in premenopausal women. (Women who are premenopausal should consult with their doctor about the monitoring of their iron levels.) Oral contraceptives have been associated with vitamin B(6) depletion and depression. Research has shown that depression improved when 20 mg of B(6) was taken daily. Other research suggests that B( 1), B( 2), B( 3), B(12), C and zinc deficiencies can also result from oral contraceptive use.

We are only beginning to scratch the surface of understanding the interactions between human-contrived medications and their natural counterparts. Some of these interactions can be beneficial -- as in the case of patients undergoing chemotherapy who do much better on a regimen of vitamin/herbal supplements. Who is going to be responsible for developing protocols enabling the safe usage of substances? Are the pharmaceutical, vitamin or herbal companies going to spend money on something which does not directly enhance its bottom line?

1. Mindell, Earl and Hopkins, Virginia. Prescription Alternatives. Keats Publishing Inc, 1998.

2. Vale, JA and Proudfoot, AT. Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) Poisoning. Lancet 346, 1995.

3. Brinker, Francis, ND. Herb Conraindications and Drug Interactions, 1997.

Canadian Health Reform Products Ltd.


By Jamie Van Den Bossche

 Answer by prokopton

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