Difference between Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen
Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are two commonly prescribed drugs that come in both generic and branded forms. Although each of these medications is prescribed for their own unique applications, they do share certain traits that make them suitable for common ailments such as toothaches, muscle pains and headaches. Beyond these common uses however, acetaminophen and ibuprofen have enough differences to make one or the other more applicable for certain uses. Here are some of the more common characteristics of each.
Acetaminophen is also known as paracetamol, and it is commonly seen in products such as Tylenol and Excedrin. Ibuprofen, on the other hand can be found in products such as Advil and Motrin.
Most doctors consider acetaminophen to be a milder alternative to ibuprofen, and it also has the benefit of being relatively free from side effects. This makes it more suitable for administering to children, pregnant women, and people who are not able to take aspirin because of the stomach irritation that it could cause. One thing you do have to look out for is the risk of liver damage, particularly if you take acetaminophen in large amounts, or consume it along with alcohol. In addition, acetaminophen may react unfavorably with drugs such as Coumadin.
Ibuprofen is also a more stomach-friendly alternative to aspirin, and it has the further advantage of being safer than steroidal drugs with regard to long-term use. Unfortunately, ibuprofen use does come with the increased risk of heart attack and stroke, particularly when it is used for extended periods. It would be best to consult with your doctor as to its feasibility for you if you have history of either one of those diseases.
Medications that contain acetaminophen are commonly prescribed for purposes of pain relief or for the easing of fever symptoms. Although ibuprofen shares similar analgesic (pain relief) and antipyretic (fever reducing) properties, ibuprofen also has anti-inflammatory properties, an attribute that acetaminophen does not have. In addition, most doctors would prescribe ibuprofen instead of acetaminophen if long-term use were necessary. Both medications are commonly prescribed for cases of migraines, arthritis or traumatic injuries, in which case doctors may recommend higher doses of either one for more effective relief. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are also commonly prescribed for pain management of gout and psoriasis.
Similarities and Differences
- Used in products such as Tylenol and Excedrin
- Relatively few side effects
- Generally safer alternative to aspirin
- Risk of liver damage when taken in excess or with alcohol
- May react unfavorably with certain medications
- Recommended for the relief of pain or to ease fever
- Key ingredient in products such as Advil and Motrin
- Classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug
- Safer than acetaminophen for long term use
- Extended use may increase risk of heart attack and stroke
- Easier on the digestive system than aspirin
- Typically prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis