Can You Take Tylenol And Ibuprofen Together?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not Tylenol (acetaminophen) and ibuprofen can be taken together.

Question

I am trying to figure out if it is safe to take Tylenol and ibuprofen at the same time since they are both pain meds. Can you help?

Asked by Shawn On Jun 23, 2022

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Jun 23, 2022
Last updated Jun 24, 2022

Key points

  • Tylenol (acetaminophen) and ibuprofen can safely be taken together. There is no interaction between them.
  • Studies show that the combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen is more effective at treating pain than either drug alone.
  • Advil Dual Action, an over-the-counter product available in the United States, contains both acetaminophen and ibuprofen in one tablet.

Hello and thanks for reaching out to us!

Yes, Tylenol (acetaminophen) and ibuprofen can safely be taken together as there is no drug interaction between them.

Even though they are both medications to help treat pain, they work via different mechanisms, and our bodies metabolize and eliminate them differently.

Now, there is a chance that taking both together could increase the risk of mild side effects, like upset stomach, but overall, there aren't any serious issues. If you find taking them together does cause mild side effects, staggering doses of each by a couple of hours can help.

What Do The Studies Say?

Multiple studies show that the combined use of acetaminophen and ibuprofen works better in terms of relieving pain that using either drug alone.

One such study states:

Overall, the fixed-dose combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen provided greater and more rapid analgesia [pain relief] than comparable doses of either agent alone or placebo in adults after removal of impacted third molars.
Clin Ther . 2018 Oct;40(10):1765-1776.e5.

Another reported similar results:

Maxigesic [combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen] tablets provide superior pain relief after oral surgery to acetaminophen or ibuprofen alone.
Br J Anaesth . 2010 Jan;104(1):80-8

Studies often point to a 'synergistic' effect when both medications are taken, which is why the combination is more effective than either drug alone.

Now, most published studies on the matter have evaluated the drugs effects on pain associated with dental/oral surgery, but there is no reason to think that the results seen aren't applicable to other types of pain.

Some studies have even noted that the fever-reducing ability of each drug is potentiated when used together.

Not all of the available evidence supports that the combination is more effective than each of the drugs alone, but no safety concerns have been noted.

What Products To Take

Advil Dual Action ImageIn terms of what products to take, you can simply combine individual ibuprofen and acetaminophen products (e.g. Tylenol and Advil) that are available over the counter. Just be sure to read the labels for each and stay within the recommended dosage limits.

Alternatively, Advil makes a product that combines both ingredients into one tablet. The product is called Advil Dual Action.

Each tablet of Advil Dual Action contains 250mg of acetaminophen and 125mg of ibuprofen.

Final Words

Thanks again for reaching out and please feel free to do so again if anything else comes up!

References

  • Explaining the acetaminophen-ibuprofen analgesic interaction using a response surface model, PubMed
  • Analgesic Efficacy of an Acetaminophen/Ibuprofen Fixed-dose Combination in Moderate to Severe Postoperative Dental Pain: A Randomized, Double-blind, Parallel-group, Placebo-controlled Trial, PubMed
  • Combined acetaminophen and ibuprofen for pain relief after oral surgery in adults: a randomized controlled trial, PubMed
  • Randomized comparison between the combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen and each constituent alone for analgesia following tonsillectomy in children, PubMed
  • Acetaminophen Monograph, PubChem

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 11 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication related questions!

Recent Questions