Aspirin vs. Tylenol: Soothing those aches and pains

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Difference between Aspirin and Tylenol

When a headache strikes, the two medications that most people automatically turn to are aspirin and Tylenol. Known the world over as some of the quickest and most convenient ways to get rid of a headache, these two are quite possibly the most widely used pain medications in the world. Let's take a look at some of their more distinctive characteristics.



Aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid, falls under the category of drugs called NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Such medications are used for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, although precautions must be taken with their use, because of their propensity to cause liver diseases. This is the main reason why many NSAIDs have already been taken out of the market. Because of their hepatotoxicity, drugs of the NSAID variety carry a significant risk of liver damage.

Tylenol, or acetaminophen as it is also known, is a medication used for the relief of pain and fever due to its analgesic and antipyretic properties respectively. The main benefit of Tylenol is that it provides relief with far less stomach discomfort than aspirin and other NSAIDs. Tylenol is also a lot safer for the liver and you should be able to take as many as eight pills over a twenty-four hour period without any adverse effects. Tylenol is often used to relieve minor pains and headaches, and it is often prescribed as an alternative to aspirin to people with liver conditions.


Taking aspirin is generally not a good idea for people that have liver conditions. In fact, such patients would do well to stay away from NSAIDs entirely, unless it is necessary for the treatment of another condition. Even then, NSAIDs should be given in much smaller diseases, and only for a short period. Keep in mind that older women suffering from liver conditions are more likely to fall prey to the ill effects of hepatotoxicity. NSAIDs may also cause users to retain water and this may cause swelling in the legs.

Tylenol is generally safer than aspirin, although it shouldn't be taken with alcohol since large amounts may cause liver failure. Overdosing on acetaminophen may also be fatal and this is in fact the leading cause of fulminant hepatic failure in the United States. Excessive acetaminophen use has also been linked with liver disease. It is thought that as little as 7 grams at a time may be enough to cause fatal liver damage.

Side Effects

Aspirin may cause gastrointestinal ulcers and internal bleeding. Tylenol comes with its own set of potential side effects as well, with users at risk for possible kidney, liver and organ damage. And as mentioned previously, both aspirin and Tylenol may cause adverse effects when taken with alcohol.



  • Also known as acetylsalicylic acid
  • Falls under the category of drugs called nsaids
  • May cause adverse effects when taken with alcohol
  • Are used for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties


  • May also cause adverse effects when taken with alcohol
  • Acetaminophen as it is also known, is a medication used for the relief of pain and fever,
  • Is a lot safer for the liver than aspirin
  • Works better on relieving nerve pain

Aspirin and Tylenol Video

Which pain medicine do you use more often?
  • Aspirin
  • Tylenol

Discuss It: comments 1

  • Guest
  • peggy fuller wrote on August 2010

I have suffered from headaches for many years and was diagnosed with "migraine tendencies" and/or stress headaches. The best thing I have found is Excedrin and have learned that Tylenol extra strength will help the condition, but not as effective as Excedrin.

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