-Aspirin is one of the oldest and most widely used medications in the world today. In fact, it is estimated the world population consumes 40,000 tons of acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) each year. But there are many considerations and decisions when deciding to use aspirin. First, the medication goes by any names, some of which are not even aspirin. We have all heard this common medication referred to as Aspirin, Bayer, Ibuprofen, Aleve, Tylenol, Naproxen, Advil, etc. Here is some “straight talk about Aspirin and similar medications.
Aspirin, is marketed as Bayer and Bufferin and is absorbed into the bloodstream and essentially looks for areas where we feel pain. Aspirin is used to treat headaches of all sizes to suppress minor body aches and pains and to reduce inflammation when we are sore. But it tends to be rough on the upper digestive tract. (Can cause upset stomach, heartburn and even dyspepsia)
Ibuprofen, sold as Motrin or Advil is chemically similar to regular aspirin and functions in a similar way. In lower doses ibuprofen seems to irritate the esophagus and stomach lining less than aspirin and naproxen. If you have ulcers or acid reflux disease ibuprofen may be the best product for pain clearly resulting from inflammation. (Arthritis, sprains and sunburns, etc.)
Naproxen, sold as Aleve is especially effective as an anti-inflammatory agent. For arthritis, headaches, sprains sunburns and other inflammation-based pain, naproxen seems to edge its competition. Many women suffering from menstrual cramps also report that naproxen is more effective than standard aspirin. Also, similar doses of this over-the-counter pain reliever ten to last longer, often for 8-12 hours instead of the usual 4-8.
Acetaminophen, sold as Tylenol lowers fevers and soothes headaches effectively but it is not an anti-inflammatory substance. As a result, it won’t do much for arthritis or sprains. It is less irritating to the lining of the stomach, making it the best headache treatment for people with acid reflux disease, ulcers and the like.
Be aware that because its usual dosage for pain relief and its overdose amount are not incredibly different as some doctors consider acetaminophen to be more dangerous than aspirin arguing that it is easier to overdose unintentionally. It is one of the most overdosed drugs in the world. You should not take more than 4,000 mg. of acetaminophen a day.
As usual, one must always read the important warnings that accompany any medication. If you have any questions give our office a call- 239-434-6016