Whether you have a headache, arthritis, or even a toothache, choosing a pain reliever can be a bit confusing, especially with the many types of over-the-counter options available. So we at Essence, with our friends at TYLENOL®, here break down the common pain relieving ingredients for you: acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen.
They each offer great benefits, but there is a lot to consider before deciding which one to take. Here is some information on how to find out which pain relief choice may be right for you.
Better known as TYLENOL®, this ingredient is indicated to temporarily relieve headache, back pain, minor arthritis pain, toothache, muscle pain, menstrual cramps and to temporarily reduce fever. Acetaminophen will not reduce swelling or inflammation.
Acetaminophen is safe when used according to directions. However, you should make sure that you do not accidentally take more than the maximum recommended daily amount, as acetaminophen may be an ingredient in other drugs you are taking. According to the FDA, there are over 600 drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC), that contain this ingredient, including cold and flu medications, so don’t take more than 4,000 milligrams per day.
Aspirin is indicated for temporary relief of headaches, toothaches, pain and fever from common colds, muscle pain, period pain, and minor pain from arthritis. Plus, it helps slow the formation of blood clots – many doctors recommend aspirin therapy to help reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack in some patients.
If you’ve spoken to your doctor about taking aspirin for your heart health, make sure you understand how certain pain relievers may interact with your heart aspirin therapy.
- Taking aspirin or other NSAIDs to treat pain when you are already having heart treatment with aspirin may increase your risk of side effects such as stomach bleeding. Ask your doctor for pain relief recommendations if you are having heart therapy with aspirin.
- When you take ibuprofen, the active ingredient in Advil® & MOTRIN®*, it may compete with the positive benefits of your heart aspirin therapy. More precisely, it blocks certain receptors necessary for the cardiovascular effects of aspirin.
- Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in TYLENOL®, may be an appropriate pain relief option for patients on aspirin cardiac therapy because it does not inhibit the cardiac therapy benefits of your aspirin therapy and does not irritate the stomach as ibuprofen can do this. For people on cardiac aspirin therapy, TYLENOL® is the # 1 doctor recommended brand of pain reliever.
In over-the-counter (OTC) doses, ibuprofen is indicated for headaches, menstrual cramps, toothaches, and muscle tension. This pain relief option is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It works by reducing the amount of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins in the body that regulate pain, fever, and inflammation.
Effective in reducing fever and relieving pain, it may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke if you take it long-term, smoke, or have other risk factors like high blood pressure. or a family history of heart disease. It can also be hard on your stomach, especially if you are over 65, have a history of stomach ulcers, take blood thinners, have a high risk of kidney problems, or drink more. three alcoholic drinks per day.
The key is to find an option that’s right for you. If you’re at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, or heart attack, talk to your doctor about any possible drug interactions, then make a plan to find what’s right for you.
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