Acetaminophen (Tylenol) belongs to a class of drugs called analgesics, and works in the brain by decreasing the perception of pain. It is commonly used for relief of fever, headaches, back pain, and symptoms of mild arthritis, as it has relatively few side effects compared to other medications.
Although it can help relieve pain, acetaminophen does not have the anti-inflammatory properties of other drug classes, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. For this reason, it can be used in conjunction with medications that have an anti-inflammatory affect.
Acetaminophen is a relatively low risk medication, with no tendency toward addiction or tolerance. In addition, the drug is metabolized in the liver so there is no gastrointestinal upset. Although side effects are rare, extended use or large doses can ultimately lead to liver damage.