Acetaminophen hepatotoxicity

Clin Liver Dis. 2007 Aug;11(3):525-48, vi. doi: 10.1016/j.cld.2007.06.006.


Acetaminophen is a commonly used antipyretic and analgesic agent. It is safe when taken at therapeutic doses; however, overdose can lead to serious and even fatal hepatotoxicity. The initial metabolic and biochemical events leading to toxicity have been well described, but the precise mechanism of cell injury and death is unknown. Prompt recognition of overdose, aggressive management, and administration of N-acetylcysteine can minimize hepatotoxicity and prevent liver failure and death. Liver transplantation can be lifesaving for those who develop acute liver failure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / adverse effects*
  • Acetaminophen / metabolism
  • Acetaminophen / poisoning
  • Acetylcysteine / therapeutic use
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury*
  • Drug Overdose
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / pathology


  • Acetaminophen
  • Acetylcysteine