Difference between Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen

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The advancements in microbial studies and drugs that work against them have been exponential for the last 20 years. In recent times, methods of treatment majorly involve administration of drugs in contrast to the age old techniques of yoga, massages and herbs.

Along with significant advancement in pharmaceutics there has been a corresponding decrease in life expectancy of today’s generation. Needless to say, the pharmaceutical company has been making unimaginable profit.

As per statistics, painkillers fall under the category of top ten most widely used drugs. Among, painkillers, Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen are the two most widely used drugs.

Often interchanged, ibuprofen and Acetaminophen have significant differences. While both Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen are painkillers used to treat pain and common symptoms such as fever, the two drugs work differently, have different potencies, vary in dosage and cause different side effects.

What are they?

Ibuprofen is a drug derived from Isobutylphenyl Propanpic acid. Acetaminophen on the other hand, comprises the commonly used drugs such as Paracetamol, Tylenol and Aspirin.

What are they used for?

Acetaminophen is majorly used to treat fever and additionally also helps alleviate moderate pain. Ibuprofen however, is an over the counter drug which not only alleviates physical pain but also helps reduce inflammation. It may thus also be classified as an anti inflammatory drug.

The safer drug.

Of the two drugs, Acetaminophen has to be taken in limited quantities as an over dosage could result in serious problems and side effects. Further, it has been recommended by doctors to stay off alcohols when taking these drugs. There have been instances of addiction to both Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen.

Side effects of the drugs.

Acetaminophens like Paracetamol are known to have lesser side effects compared to Ibuprofen. They can be given to children in low doses.

The side effects of Acetaminophen are minimal. During very rare conditions however, they may result in painful and potentially harmful skin conditions and sometimes even rashes and blisters. Ibuprofen however, can induce major side effects on ingestion. Severe stomach bleeding, ulcers and heart burns may occur.

Potency of the drugs.

The potency and curing effect of both medicines are almost equal. However, as mentioned earlier, Ibuprofen is a more efficient anti inflammatory drug compared to Acetaminophen.

Drawbacks of using the two drugs.

The major drawbacks of the drugs include their toxicity, side effects and hidden dangers.

Toxicity: Acetaminophen when taken in excess can damage the liver. Over dose of Ibuprofen damages the kidney and proves to be extremely dangerous to the heart.
Hidden dangers: Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen may cause allergies. It is thus necessary to consult a doctor before using these drugs. It has also been recommended to avoid Ibuprofen before a heart surgery.

Drug dosages.

The safe amount of Acetaminophen that can be taken by one person is less than 3,250 mg for a normal adult and less than 2,000 mg for an elderly person. The normal dose of Ibuprofen that can be taken varies from person to person and must be prescribed by the doctor.

Alternating between the two drugs for pain and fever.

For fever: Not recommended
For pain: May be beneficial

The better drug.

Ibuprofen is believed to be the better drug for the following reasons: It fights fever, eases pain, soothes sore throat, eases inflammation and is not too expensive. Though it is an over the counter drug, it is generally advised to take this drug only with a doctor’s prescription.

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