Tylenol Rapid Release

So I’ve been fooled by Tylenol Rapid Release. The makers of Tylenol claim to have a breakthrough with the newest iteration of Tylenol by making it so much quicker to release the medication instead the gelcaps. What they fail to explain is, this does not mean your system will absorb the medication ANY FASTER. I think I was under the impression this was true. I did my own test.

I broke a regular Tylenol gelcap in half. By the way, the “gel” portion of gelcap just indicates the outside has a gelatin coating. The inside is solid. I took the two halves of the pill and timed how long until my headache went away. The very next time I had the same type of headache, I took a rapid release. My results were the same; within 6-8 minutes, the headache started to subside. This is totally not scientific since I didn’t control any variables.

Just don’t pay any more for rapid release. All they have are holes on the side of the pills. 🙂

Check out Third Way Blog for more information too.

Categories: Headaches


I'm a 20-something full time geek, part time student and photographer with a life partner, dog, house, and the two cars. I also have an ice pick in my left temple every day.


ErinM · April 15, 2006 at 9:37 AM

Hey.. why do you break the Tylenol in half? Just wondering…

artin · April 17, 2006 at 9:32 AM

The breaking in half causes the Tylenol to dissolve faster. On the Tylenol Rapid Release, they laser cut small holes into the side of the pill to do the same thing. Otherwise your stomach has to dissolve the gelatin coating, then go at the medication. The breaking in half kind of simulates the rapid release feature by exposing the medication.

Fred · April 25, 2006 at 7:27 PM

It takes roughly 15 minutes for a gelcap (in tact) to start to dissolve. It takes about 2 minutes for a Rapid Release Gel to completely dissolve. True, breaking a gelcap in half does the same thing, but the holes in Rapid Release gels allow the quick dissolving without the bitter taste of the medicine. I got the information from McNeil’s consumer call line.

I love these because you don’t need water to swallow them. I think they did a great job. Why didn’t anyone else think of this??

Also, I disagree with the the original reviewer… The box clearly states “fast release, fast relief” They couldn’t have stated this on the box without as least proving they were faster than original gelcaps.

ron · May 6, 2006 at 10:35 AM

anyone try maxalt? My migrainas occure about every 4 weeks severe pail behine the right eye. been reading about seritonin and its rol in migrain. trititan type drugs change seritinin levels. I also have low platlets which aloso store seritonin. I’m a bit concerned about seritonin syndrom.

Any dotors out there than can tell me about seritonin syndrom and its role in migrain?

A dude · November 8, 2006 at 9:05 PM

Hmm. Interesting. As someone not in the habit of breaking tylenol capsules in half, I did notice that these worked pretty fast. After all, it’s kind of a hassle to break tablets in half if you’re running around during the day, and if you bite them they’re pretty gross. So there is may be a convenience advantage here over regular tablets. The real test would be to compare the speed of a whole one of these to an unbroken gel-cap and a broken gel-cap, to see if its any faster that a regular gel-cap, or maybe even as fast as a broken one.

I also wonder how these compare speed-wise to the old-fashioned “non-gel” tablets. Anyway thanks for shedding a little light on this small mystery.

headache sufferer · April 5, 2007 at 1:47 PM

Wow…I’d think you’d just be happy with the fact that your headaches go away when you take over-the-counter meds, period. I know that I wake up in the mornings with a terrible headache (that then becomes a migraine) and no amount of over-the-counter drugs work to alleviate it. If I’m lucky, it might go away by late afternoon. But, it usually lasts until the next day.

Whether it works faster or not, just be happy that it works 😉

Joanmarie · April 8, 2007 at 2:58 PM

I just did my science fair project on the dissolving times of pills. i can’t seactly tell how quickly they relieve pain, but the RRG did dissolve quicker than the caplets, geltabs, etc. My problem was that the geltabs wouldn’t dissolve for about half an hour.
BTW, i used Sierra Mist. It simulates stomach acid (about 2.5 pH)

Ron's got problems · June 16, 2010 at 1:13 AM

I think Ron might want to consider some remedial typing, language, and grammar classes …. I think I have his migraines after (trying to) read that collection of nonsense.

Ben · September 13, 2017 at 8:21 PM

Well, I am impressed by the Rapid Release variety. While standard Tylenol capsules or tablets take 50 minutes to make a dent in my headaches, I began noticing relief with the Rapid Release version at 7 minutes and my headache was totally gone at 30 minutes.

If you want to spend your time breaking standard gelcaps in half while standing in line at the grocery store or on mass transit, go right ahead. I’ll happily buy your share of Rapid Release gel caps!

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