So here’s a question that I’m sure many people have searched an answer for. When you have an ache or sore spot someplace, which is the best to take – aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen? And what the heck brands fall into which category anyhow?
To answer the last question first, we can make a short list.
- Aspirin covers brands such as Bayer, Bufferin, Anacin, and St. Josephs.
- Ibuprofen has brand names such as Motrin, Advil, and Nuprin
- Acetaminophen covers Tylenol in all its forms.
So, aspirin is the oldest of the three to achieve mass production. It is also the most natural of the three, being readily found in nature. At one time aspirin was used to treat just about every pain and ache there was. Then along came a safer and more tolerant cousin, ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is less aggravating to the stomach and internal organs than aspirin. After these two came acetaminophen. The main difference acetaminophens have with the other two is its being an anti-inflammatory medication. So you can’t use Tylenol for such things as arthritis or sprains.
There is a list of benefits to all three; and all three have uses that make them unique. Aspirin is good for all around aches, inflammation, and gout. It has now also begun use as a treatment for heart disease. Bayer is a common brand name seen in many commercials for this. Meanwhile, if you have an ulcer or acid reflux, doctors will tell you not to use aspirin at all. This is where ibuprofen is handy since it is easier to digest into the bloodstream. Ibuprofen is also known to better treat pain from sprains, sunburn and most forms of arthritis. Next is acetaminophen. This medication is most suited for children and people who are hemophiliacs. Tylenol, in all its forms is also widely prescribed by dentists and doctors to deaden pain from exposed nerves and mouth issues.
The problems with each are just as diverse. Aspirin is a blood thinner. This causes problems for hemophilia and other blood disorders. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, and heartburn. Ibuprofen, when used properly, is stronger and can outlast both aspirin and acetaminophen; but to avoid stomach problems it should be taken with food. Ibuprofen can have similar side effects to aspirin and can also include ringing in the ears, dizziness, drowsiness and minor constipation. Acetaminophen can be considered more dangerous by doctors than aspirin in some cases. While it is the safest overall to use, in large doses acetaminophen has shown to cause liver damage. There is also the risk of internal injury to people known to drink in excess or use other prescribed medications.
Most of the time, a simple headache can be remedied with one of the three. Other pains, or spasms, should only be aided by one of the three depending on the symptoms. Reading the label and checking with your doctor are always the best recommended precaution.