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Pain Relief: What’s in the Bottle?

As the weather continues to improve, our activity levels will begin to ramp up. Unfortunately, enjoying the sunshine and getting a little spring cleaning done comes with side effects, and it can be difficult to know which pain relief option is the best fit for you. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are two of the most common options.

Understanding the Differences

Acetaminophen

  • Although most commonly used in Tylenol products, acetaminophen is also in many multi-symptom, over-the-counter items.
  • Acetaminophen helps with pain relief and fever. The most common conditions acetaminophen treats are headaches, muscle aches, arthritis, backache, toothaches, and fevers.
  • Avoid taking too much. An overdose of acetaminophen can damage your liver.
  • Check your label. Because acetaminophen is used in many multi-symptom, over-the-counter items, double dosing is common. Check the label on all medications to ensure that you don’t overdo it.

Ibuprofen

  • As a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), ibuprofen is found in many pain relief medications, such as Advil, Motrin, IBU, and Children's Motrin.
  • Ibuprofen helps with pain relief, fever, and inflammation. The most common conditions ibuprofen treats are headaches, toothache, back pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, or minor injuries.
  • Don’t overdo it. Prolonged use can lead to kidney damage, heart attack, and stroke.
  • Check with your doctor. Bleeding risks increase if you are over the age of 60; have ulcers; take blood thinners, steroids, or other NSAIDs; or have three or more alcoholic drinks a day.

Alternating Dosage

You can minimize risks and maximize benefits by switching between the two. Check with your pharmacy team to discuss how to effectively and safely alternate your medications.

Extended Usage

Both medications can be harmful if used over a long period of time. Call your doctor if you still have a fever after three days of use or if you still have pain after seven days of use (or five days if treating a child).

Take Out the Guesswork

The quickest way to identify the best option for you is to start a conversation with your Sterling pharmacy team. A short conversation can lead to major benefits as you search for the proper pain relief. No need for an appointment. Our team is happy to help you make the most of your medications.