Before entering pharmacy school I did not know the difference between Tylenol and Advil. There are major differences in how the two work to resolve pain and fever. The substance or generic name of Tylenol is Acetaminophen and for Advil or Motrin it is Ibuprofen. When it comes to deciding on either to use, here are some facts to consider.
Tylenol (Acetaminophen) is considered an analgesic and antipyretic, meaning that it aids in pain relief and reduces fever. It's mechanism of action is not entirely understood but it is believed to inhibit prostaglandin synthesis. Advil (Ibuprofen) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory(NSAID) that also aids in pain relief and fever reduction. The major difference is that Tylenol is not anti-inflammatory whereas Advil is anti-inflammatory. Having anti-inflammatory properties gives Advil an edge over Tylenol when it comes to pain relief. In regards to fever reduction, Tylenol has an edge over Advil as shown in studies.
When deciding between the two, Advil works best for pain, swelling, and inflammation. DO NOT take Advil if you have kidney disease (since metabolized in the kidneys), any gastrointestinal disease or gastric inflammation like ulcers, GERD or acid reflux. If you have uncontrolled blood pressure, Ibuprofen can actually increase your blood pressure. Use caution when using Ibuprofen with high blood pressure. It is recommended that you check your blood pressure regularly while taking this for pain relief. If you are pregnant, do not take Advil or Motrin as studies have shown pregnancy risks. If you have any of these conditions, Tylenol would be your choice for over-the-counter pain medication.
Tylenol is the best choice for fever reduction. Although it works well for pain it will not reduce inflammation or swelling. If you have any liver disease do not take Tylenol as it is metabolized in the liver. During pregnancy, this is the pain reliever of choice.
For children, it is common to use both medications to break a fever separated by 4 hour increments. When used together, they have a complementing effect.
I happen to be #TEAMADVIL when medication is the only option! Although I prefer a natural alternative, when I need it, Ibuprofen works phenomenally for me. Tylenol has its place and is a great pain reliever and the ultimate fever reducer.
I hope the information provided will help you make an informed decision when deciding which pain reliever to use. When it comes to Aleve(naproxen), it is also an NSAID and lasts longer than Ibuprofen. It's analgesic effects last up to 12 hours. Aspirin is also a pain reliever but does not have any anti-inflammatory properties. It is primarily a blood thinner or anti-coagulant.
Looking for a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory agent? Look no further than Tumeric. Tumeric works wonders for aches and pains, and for inflammation all over the body. Cucurmin, one of the compounds isolated from tumeric, has been shown in several studies to reduce and reverse inflammation which ultimately reduces pain and swelling. Tumeric is available in all forms including the actual root, a powder, tablet or capsule formulation.
Any questions? Please contact me!