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Acetaminophen, plasma or serum

Alternate test name

Tylenol, Paracetamol

Lab area
Clinical Biochemistry - TDM & Toxicology
Method and equipment
Abbott Architect ci4100
Expected turn-around time
Stat/ Urgent/ Routine: 3 hours
Specimen type

Serum, Plasma (Heparin)

Specimen requirements

150 uL

Storage and transportation

Refrigerator (4 - 8°C): 2 days,
Freezer (-20°C) long term

Shipping information
The Hospital for Sick Children
Rapid Response Laboratory
555 University Avenue, Room 3642
Toronto, ON
M5G 1X8
Phone: 416-813-7200
Toll Free: 1-855-381-3212
Hours: 7 days/week, 24 hours/day
Background and clinical significance

Acetaminophen is one of the most widely used analgesics on the market today. It is available in many formulations including liquid, tablets, capsules and suppositories. The chemical name is N-acetyl-p-aminophenol (APAP). Acetaminophen has an excellent safety profile in therapeutic doses, but hepatotoxicty can develop in overdose situations. Metabolism is primarily hepatic with the half life being 2 to 4 hours. The parent compound, acetaminophen is non-toxic, but the metabolite N-acetyl-benzoquinoneimine (NAPQI) is toxic. Normally, glutathione will bind the NAPQI and form a non-toxic conjugate which is excreted. In overdose situations, as glutatione stores are depleted, the NAPQI binds to the lipid bilayer of the hepatocytes resulting in necrosis. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an effective antidote.

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