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Motrin (Ibuprofen) vs. Tylenol (Acetaminophen)

Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

Are Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen the Same Thing?

Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Motrin (ibuprofen) are pain relievers and fever reducers used for treating pain and fever associated with many conditions.

Motrin is also used to treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

The drugs belong to different drug classes. Tylenol is an analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic and Motrin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

Side effects of Tylenol and Motrin that are similar include nausea, stomach pain, skin itching or rash, and headache.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Ibuprofen?

Common side effects of Ibuprofen include:

Other side effects of Motrin may occur. Consult your physician if you experience any possible side effects of Motrin.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Acetaminophen?

Common side effects of Acetaminophen include:

  • nausea,
  • stomach pain,
  • loss of appetite,
  • itching,
  • rash,
  • headache,
  • dark urine,
  • clay-colored stools,
  • or jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes).

Get medical help right away if you notice symptoms of a rare serious allergic reaction to Tylenol, including:

What is Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) indicated for relief of the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, for relief of mild to moderate pain, and for treatment of primary dysmenorrhea. A generic formulation is available.

What is Acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen temporarily relieves minor aches and pains due to: the common cold, headache, backache, minor pain of arthritis, toothache, premenstrual and menstrual cramps, and temporarily reduces fever.

RxList

What Drugs Interact With Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen may interact with other drugs. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use.

What Drugs Interact With Acetaminophen?

Tylenol may interact with aspirin or other NSAIDs and blood pressure medications.

Tylenol may also interact with antibiotics, antifungals, sulfa drugs, tuberculosis medicines, birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, cancer medications, cholesterol-lowering medications, gout or arthritis medications (including gold injections), HIV/AIDS medications, medicines to treat psychiatric disorders, or seizure medications.

How Should Ibuprofen Be Taken?

The recommended dose of Motrin should be adjusted to suit individual patients needs but should not exceed 3200 mg in the total daily dose. Use of alcohol and smoking could increase side effects. Safe use of Motrin for use by children has not been established. It is not known whether ibuprofen is harmful to an unborn baby.

How Should Acetaminophen Be Taken?

Do not take more than directed.

Liver warning: This product contains acetaminophen. Severe liver damage may occur if:

  • adult takes more than 12 caplets in 24 hours, which is the maximum daily amount
  • child takes more than 5 doses in 24 hours, which is the maximum daily amount
  • taken with other drugs containing acetaminophen
  • adult has 3 or more alcoholic drinks every day while using this product.

Do not use

  • with any other drug containing acetaminophen (prescription or nonprescription). If you are not sure whether a drug contains acetaminophen, ask a doctor or pharmacist.
  • if you are allergic to acetaminophen or any of the inactive ingredients in this product

Stop use and ask a doctor if

  • pain gets worse or lasts more than 10 days in adults
  • pain gets worse or lasts more than 5 days in children under 12 years
  • fever gets worse or lasts more than 3 days
  • new symptoms occur
  • redness or swelling is present

These could be signs of a serious condition.

If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before use.

Keep out of reach of children.

Ask a doctor before use if the user has liver disease

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if the user is taking blood thinning drug warfarin.

Reviewed on 12/4/2017

References:
RxList. Motrin Product Monograph.
https://www.rxlist.com/ibuprofen-drug.htm
RxList. Tylenol (acetaminophen) Prescribing Information.
https://www.rxlist.com/tylenol-drug.htm

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