Advil Aleve And Tylenol: Whats The Difference
- May 19, 2015
You wake up with a terrible headache, a sore muscle or yesterdays sunburn is bothering you, and shuffle your way to your medicine cabinet. You open the cabinet, hoping to find something to help with the pain and discomfort, but find yourself faced with three choices: Advil, Aleve and Tylenol. Which one should you take? What are the differences to consider before taking?
All of these pharmaceuticals are useful to treat pain and reduce fever, which is why theyre such common occurrences in households, said David E. Potter, Ph.D., professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences with the Texas A& M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. However, there are some instances where one of these medicines may work better than its counterparts.
To help navigate when to choose which of these common over-the-counter medications, Potter offers the following information about each pain and fever-reducer:
Acetaminophen is a popular option for treating cold and flu-like symptoms, but Potter cautions that users need to be aware of how much they take in a day. Since acetaminophen is often combined with other over-the-counter cold medications that contain fever-reducing ingredients, people may end up taking multiple doses and exceeding the daily limitations.
Advil and Aleve
Although most people have these medications or are aware of them, Potter suggests that not everybody should use these as their primary form of pain management.
Which Otc Painkillers Can You Take Together
If you already have a headache and navigate your way to the pain relief shelf at your pharmacy the headache is likely to get worse. That’s because there are a bazillion names on the bottles. Very complicated. But this is only because the manufacturers of analgesics want it that way. In reality, it is very simple. There are only four drugs to choose from despite all the different names . So people are perpetually confused about what painkiller they’re looking at.
And many are also unaware that some of these drugs can be combined while others cannot. First, let’s look at the four drugs that are available OTC in the US and some alternate names they are known by. The first three all belong to a class of drugs called NSAIDs . Tylenol does not. It works by blocking pain signals to the brain.
OTC PAIN RELIEVERS
So, why does the OTC pain relief counter at CVS look like this?
Analgesic hell. Photo: Wikimedia
It’s because drug companies have combined the analgesics with other drugs, for example, antihistamines, to help with sleep or allergies, something that I think is pretty scummy and have written about in the past
WHICH DRUGS CAN BE COMBINED SAFELY?
NSAIDs are generally safe to take with Tylenol, and the two together work better than either one alone. There are three ways to do this:
WHICH DRUGS CANNOT BE COMBINED SAFELY?
WHAT ABOUT TOPICAL NSAIDs?
Voltaren is commonly used in a patch.
How Far Apart Can You Take Ibuprofen
The usual dose for adults is one or two 200mg tablets 3 times a day. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a higher dose of up to 600mg to take 4 times a day if needed. This should only happen under supervision of a doctor. If you take ibuprofen 3 times a day, leave at least 6 hours between doses.
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Which Is Safer: Ibuprofen Or Acetaminophen
One isnt safer than the other, says Dr. Massachi. They both have their own issues and potential for side effects and abuse and must be taken with caution and in appropriate quantities to ensure they are effective while also being non-hazardous. But one isnt more effective than the other per se, and choosing which drug to take should align with the patients symptoms .
How To Safely Switch Between Ibuprofen And Acetaminophen
Doubling up on pain medications must be done carefully. Katherine Kazmier, M.D., a pediatrician with Seattle Children’s Hospital, says it’s generally safe to give both medications at the same time every six hours . Your child can also alternate between them, taking one every three hours. “Although acetaminophen can be given every four hours, when alternating with ibuprofen we usually give it every six hours because it’s simpler to give alternate medications every three hours,” says Dr. Kazmier.
To use both of these medications safely, always follow the correct dosageand only combine them for a short period of time. “Both medications can have adverse effects when used at higher doses, so check the dose for your child’s age and weight carefully, and check with your child’s doctor if you’re unsure,” says Dr. Kazmier. She recommends keeping a written log of medications given, including the dosage and timing, to avoid accidentally mixing them up.
If your child is still miserable after a day of double dosing, it’s time to check with their health care provider. “Your child is more likely to have adverse effects from the medications if they are dehydrated or if they have a serious infection, so if they are not drinking fluids well, having severe pain, or acting more sick than a typical childhood illness, please call your child’s doctor for advice,” says Dr. Kazmier.
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Can You Take Tylenol With An Nsaid
There are many people who believe that Tylenol is pretty much the same thing as aspirin, Advil , or Aleve , but there is one key difference: the latter three belong to a class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
While NSAIDs also have analgesic and antipyretic effects, they can also relieve inflammation caused by conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis. Tylenol cannot.
Despite this added benefit, NSAIDs have a number of potentially serious side effects that limit their use. As such, neither Tylenol nor NSAIDs can be considered “better” than the other they simply have their appropriate use.
Can I Mix Them With Other Otc Pain Relievers
Acetaminophen can be safely mixed with other NSAIDs, such as aspirin and naproxen . Follow the same guidelines as if you were taking acetaminophen and ibuprofen together.
Ibuprofen, however, shouldnt be mixed with other NSAIDs. This is because all NSAIDs use the same mechanisms to relieve pain. By doubling up on NSAIDs, you could enhance this effect to the point that it becomes harmful or leads to an overdose.
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How Much Ibuprofen And Acetaminophen Can I Take Together
Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be safely used together but should always be used at the lowest doses possible to achieve relief and one should not exceed the recommended daily dose.
The usual safe doses for ibuprofen is up to 800 mg per dose every eight hours and acetaminophen 650 mg every six hours if taken together, assuming normal kidney and liver functions, according to Dr. Massachi.
The standard dosage for over-the-counter ibuprofen is 200-400 mg every six hours. Adults should not take more than an absolute maximum of 3200 mg of ibuprofen per day. Given the potential for adverse effects with higher doses in many patient populations, patients should take the smallest dosage needed to alleviate pain. Patients should start with lower doses, achieving doses no greater than 1200 mg per day, prior to pushing doses to the absolute maximum daily dose of 3200 mg per day.
Prescription Strength Vs Over The Counter
You may have heard about prescription-strength versions of Aleve and Advil. Doctors may prescribe you a higher dose of either of these medications if you have severe pain. There are also a variety of other NSAIDs that are only available by prescription, such as meloxicam, diclofenac, and indomethacin.
Are your prescriptions cheaper at another pharmacy?
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Side Effects Of Ibuprofen
- Dark stool
Rare but serious adverse events of ibuprofen and acetaminophen include allergic reactions , hoarseness, difficulty breathing or swallowing, and chest pain. Too much ibuprofen can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, and it can worsen stomach ulcers. Liver damage may occur in the overuse of acetaminophen. These symptoms require medical attention. You should call 911 or seek out an emergency department as soon as possible.
Mixing Otc Pain Relievers
Make sure you safely combine OTC pain relievers to avoid complications.
Ibuprofen is an NSAID and should not be combined with other NSAIDs. NSAIDs use the same mechanism in the body and can lead to overdose and severe side effects when combined.
Acetaminophen is not an NSAID and can be safely mixed with NSAIDs such as Advil, Motrin, Aspirin, or Aleve . When combining medications, only take the recommended dosages.
Be mindful of OTC products that may include NSAIDs and/or acetaminophen as combination formulations for cough and cold symptoms or sleep assistance, as examples. Always ask a pharmacist or healthcare professional if you are unsure of the ingredients of any product.
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Aleve Vs Tylenol: Which Is Recommended More By Doctors
There are many over the counter pain releivers to choose from, and sometimes it can be confusing to know which is the best treatment for your ailment. There are significant differences between OTC pain relievers like Tyenol, Advil, Excedrin, and Aleve, and while all may help with pain, not all target pain in the same way. Not only do these medicines contain different ingredients, they can also cause a variety of side effects.
If you have ever experienced joint pain or a migraine headache, chances are you have tried some of these products for pain relief. Even if you have a favorite among them, there are certain OTC pain relievers that may work better than others for your specific area of pain.
Medical News Today explains that OTC products containing acetaminophen, like Tylenol, work by blocking pain signals in the brain and the nervous system. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen, the main ingredient in Aleve, work to decrease pain by reducing inflammation .
Can Naproxen And Tylenol Be Taken Together
Naproxen and Tylenol could be taken together and found to be safe. However, it is advisable to take both medicines at different times for more effective results.
Staggering the medication can help to extend relief from pain. In case the pain is severe Tylenol alone may not be effective.
Doses of Naproxen could be added. A combination of both the medicine may work better than either drug alone.
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Tips For Treating Side Effects From The Vaccine
Beyond taking medication, there are some home remedies that can help you cope with the side effects. Applying a cool, wet cloth to the spot on your arm where the shot was given can help with some of the pain, according to the CDC. Drinking lots of fluids is wise if you’re feverish, and wearing lightweight clothing can also keep you comfortable.
After your vaccine, you’re supposed to wait for 15 minutes before leaving the place where you got vaccinated to be observed for reactions or serious side effects.
According to the CDC, the side effects of the Covid vaccine should go away in a few days. That said, in some cases, the side effects can interfere with your ability to go about your daily life, so you may want to plan accordingly.
Also good to know: More people experience side effects from the second of the two doses. That’s because the first dose triggers an immune response, and the second dose “boosts” it.
Are There Any Studies That Support Taking Acetaminophen And Ibuprofen Together
There are several studies that show that taking ibuprofen and acetaminophen together is more effective than taking either one alone.
A combination tablet that contained 200mg of ibuprofen and 500mg of paracetamol and a combination tablet that contained 400mg of ibuprofen and 1000mg of paracetamol were much more effective in providing sustained pain relief in adults with moderate to severe acute dental pain than separate doses of ibuprofen or paracetamol.1
Combining ibuprofen and acetaminophen in the same tablet was just as effective as some opioids at relieving moderate to severe pain in 416 adults.2,3
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What Are The Side Effects Of Mixing Tylenol & Aleve
This author has been verfied for credibility and expertise
Both Tylenol and Aleve provide pain relief and lower fever. Tylenol is acetaminophen and Aleve is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory. Taking Tylenol according to recommended dosage produces negligible adverse effects. Aleve, however, causes many side effects. When taken together, Tylenol and Aleve can lead to serious side effects. Although rare, these adverse reactions can be fatal.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Do Nsaids Interact With Anything
You should watch out for interactions with any drugs youre taking. There are some substances that interact with NSAIDs. These include blood thinners such as warfarin or aspirin, as well as substances such as tobacco and alcohol. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the drugs youre taking, including over-the-counter pain relievers like Aleve and Advil.
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How Tylenol And Nsaids Differ
Tylenol is primarily used to treat things like headaches, fever, muscle ache, backache, toothache, and colds. While the exact mechanism of action is still unclear, Tylenol is believed to inhibit an enzyme called COX-2 in the milder way than NSAIDs. By doing so, it prevents the brain from releasing chemicals that activate pain receptors.
While NSAIDs do many of the same things, they also temper the production of prostaglandin, a hormone-like compound which promotes inflammation. Prostaglandins also have the distinction of protecting the stomach from the damaging effects of digestive acids.
And, therein lies one of the major challenges of NSAID use: as prostaglandin levels decrease so, too, does the protective benefit to the stomach. Because Tylenol has less effect on prostaglandin, its gastrointestinal side effects are far less severe.
Is It Safe To Take Ibuprofen And Tylenol Together
Over-the-counter pain relievers are a great option to treat everyday aches and pains. They are widely available and help remedy mild to moderate pain from a variety of conditions: sore throats, menstrual cramps, toothaches, sprains, and most acute pain. Some of the most popular pain medications are ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
You might know acetaminophen by its brand name, Tylenol. Ibuprofen is also a generic pain reliever branded as Advil and Motrin.
Acetaminophen is a medication that is usually metabolized by the liver, says Sasan Massachi, MD, a primary care physician in Beverly Hills, California. Ibuprofen is an NSAID that causes inhibition in a specific enzyme within the body.
Another difference is that acetaminophen works effectively as a fever reducer. Ibuprofen is not as effective at reducing fever.
It is safe to use acetaminophen and ibuprofen together in the recommended amount. A 2019 Cochrane Review found ibuprofen plus paracetamol provided better pain relief than either drug alone and reduced the chance of needing additional pain relievers over approximately eight hours. A Harvard review found ibuprofen and acetaminophen combined was as effective as opioids, such as codeine or Vicodin, for severe acute pain.
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Which Is More Effective At Relieving Pain
Since naproxen and ibuprofen work in the same way, they are generally equally effective for relieving pain. However, the type of pain youre experiencing may help you decide which to take.
On average, Aleve lasts eight to twelve hours, while Advil lasts just four to six hours. That means that if you have chronic, long-lasting pain, Aleve is probably a more effective option for you. Advil is better for short-term pain, and its also considered safer for children.
What Is Acetaminophen
Acetaminophen is another pain-relief medicine that can be brought over the counter. Brand names for acetaminophen include Tylenol. In some countries, acetaminophen is called paracetamol.
Acetaminophen has a unique way of working, although it is still thought to work by inhibiting certain COX enzymes.
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How Does Tylenol Work
The active ingredient in Tylenol is acetaminophen, which blocks pain signals in the brain.
Acetaminophen is an analgesic and antipyretic. It inhibits the pain sensors in the nervous system, and it can also reduce fevers.
However, researchers still do not fully understand how acetaminophen blocks pain signals.
Healthcare professionals usually suggest starting off with the smallest dosage of a drug. If the symptoms persist, they then recommend increasing the dosage or adding another medication.
Starting off with the lowest effective dosage reduces the risk of side effects.
Doctors generally recommend taking different dosages of Aleve and Tylenol. The same is true for other drugs that contain naproxen or acetaminophen.
The recommended dosage of Aleve, for adults, is one pill every 8â12 hours. However, this depends on the strength of the medication.
A person can usually take acetaminophen-based pain relievers like Tylenol more frequently.
Tylenol generally comes in 325 milligram , 500 mg, or 650 mg pills. Citing the productâs labeling, Harvard Medical School reports that a healthy adult can take Tylenol in any of the following doses:
- 1 or 2 325 mg pills every 4â6 hours, taking no more than 8â10 pills per day
- 1 or 2 500 mg pills every 4â6 hours, taking no more than 6 pills per day
- 1 or 2 650 mg extended release pills every 8 hours, taking no more than 4â6 pills per day