HF 8266

Dealing with a Medicine Shortage: Children’s Liquid Acetaminophen

When there are a lot of viral illnesses spreading among children at the same time (such as RSV and influenza), there may be shortages of certain medicines because of increased demand. This may include an increased demand for children’s liquid acetaminophen (Tylenol®) as this is used to help manage symptoms. This Health Facts for You will give you other treatment options you can use for your child if there is a medicine shortage.

Does my child need acetaminophen?

You do not always need to treat fevers as they are a normal way for the body to fight infection. If your child has a mild fever but is acting normal, they may not need medicine. If your child has a fever with aches, pains and is feeling unwell, you can treat with acetaminophen. Call your doctor if you are unsure if you should treat your child’s fever.

What are other treatment options?

If your child weighs at least 11 pounds (5 kg), they may be able to use a solid tablet form of acetaminophen instead of liquid. You may need to cut the tablets into halves or quarters using a pill splitter or a sharp knife.

The chart below will help you figure out the right dose. Make sure you are using either the 325 mg tablets or 500 mg tablets depending on what dose your child needs (do not use the capsules or gel caps!). Ask a pharmacist for help finding the right tablets.

How do I give the acetaminophen tablets?

Tablets can be swallowed whole, chewed, or crushed. You can mix crushed tablets in a small amount of soft food (like applesauce or pudding) if this helps your child swallow the medicine. Repeat doses every 4 to 6 hours if needed.

8266 Table
8266 Table 2

*Round tablets are easier to cut into equal-size pieces, especially for quarter (1/4) tablets. Scored tablets that are not round work well to cut in half (1/2) but not as well to cut into quarters (1/4).