Tylenol vs Ibuprofen

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Looking at Tylenol vs Ibuprofen, know that although Tylenol and ibuprofen are marketed for similar purposes and have effects that overlap, they are actually two very different compounds. Using the proper product can make a difference.

Tylenol (generic name, acetaminophen) and ibuprofen are both used for mild pain relief. This can range from muscle or joint pain to headache or toothache. While these fall under “mild” pains, certainly those actually in pain would describe them a bit differently. Relief obtained from these over the counter analgesics is just as important to those suffering as with stronger, addictive narcotics.

With Tylenol vs Ibuprofen, both drugs also reduce fever and are used for this purpose as well.

The differences with Tylenol vs Ibuprofen come from other actions in the body. For instance, ibuprofen (but not Tylenol) has anti-inflammatory properties. Pain that is due to arthritis will respond better to ibuprofen, because part of what is causing the pain is an inflammation of the joint tissues. This effect comes with a downside though. The same mechanism means that, like aspirin, ibuprofen decreases the ability to form blood clots. While not significant in most patients, this can be a problem for those already on blood thinners. Also like aspirin, ibuprofen can cause stomach bleeding, although this usually isn’t significant. Some patients find that taking the drug on an empty stomach causes nausea, so ibuprofen is usually given with food.

Tylenol vs Ibuprofen drugs are also metabolized by the body differently. Tylenol is cleared through the liver and patients with liver problems (or a history of alcoholism) may not break down the drug as well as others. An overdose of Tylenol will also cause liver damage -- even fatally. Ibuprofen, on the other hand, although broken down in the liver, is more likely to cause kidney problems – especially in those who are elderly or have compromised kidney function.

The other major difference between Tylenol vs Ibuprofen is the duration of action. Tylenol typically will provide shorter term relief, from four to six hours. Ibuprofen extends this up to eight hours. This explains why Tylenol products are usually dosed at four times a day, while ibuprofen based drugs are given three times daily.

With Tylenol vs Ibuprofen, both products are generally considered safe at recommended dosages.

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