Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are two commonly used over-the-counter (OTC) medications that can help reduce pain and fever. Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) while acetaminophen is an analgesic. Both medications are used to relieve pain, however, they have different mechanisms of action and side effects.
Ibuprofen works by inhibiting the production of certain inflammatory chemicals in the body that are responsible for pain and swelling. This makes it useful for treating mild to moderate pain caused by arthritis, muscle aches, back pain, and menstrual cramps. Ibuprofen can also reduce fever and can be used for the relief of headaches. Common side effects of ibuprofen include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Long-term use of ibuprofen can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Acetaminophen, on the other hand, is an analgesic that works by blocking the transmission of pain signals to the brain. It can be used to relieve mild to moderate pain such as headaches, toothaches, muscle aches, and menstrual cramps. Acetaminophen can also reduce fever. It is generally considered safe for short-term use, however, long-term use of acetaminophen can lead to liver damage. Common side effects of acetaminophen include nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.