When it comes to pain, aspirin, and acetaminophen is here to save the day. These two over-the-counter drugs are equal when it comes to pain relief. However, there are some circumstances where the former is better than the latter or the other way around. So how do they compare with each other? Let’s find out!

Aspirin

  • Also known as acetylsalicylic acid, aspirin is an anti-inflammatory drug that treats headaches, inflammation, pains, and minor body aches. It’s also used to treat heart attacks, strokes, and angina, but chances are low and maybe ineffective at some times. How it works is that aspirin inhibits the production of prostaglandins, a hormone-like body chemical that is the cause for blood clotting.
  • Acetylsalicylic got its name from salicylic acid, where it’s derived from the word “salicin,” a compound that is mostly found in a willow tree’s bark and leaves. In Hippocrates’ era way back 2000 years ago, willow bark and leaves are used as a natural medicine to treat headaches, pain, and fever.

Acetaminophen

  • This one is commonly known as paracetamol and is used to aid fever and relieve headaches. Back in 1953, the drug was marketed in the US by Sterling-Winthrop Co. and was promoted to be “better” than aspirin. It’s safe to use that even children can take it with no problem, let alone people with ulcers and other gastric conditions.
  • As time goes by, Acetaminophen gained popularity and has been widely used not only in the US but all over the world with lots of generic brands embracing the drug and making it accessible for people by pricing it right.

The Benefits

Now that we know the difference between the two, it’s time to break down its benefits.

Aspirin

  • Has anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Prevents cardiovascular conditions such as heart attack.
  • Prevents stroke.

Acetaminophen

  • Safe to swallow as it doesn’t irritate the stomach lining.
  • People with acid reflux such as heartburn and other digestive tract issues can take acetaminophen without any problems.
  • The overall drug of choice when it comes to fever relief.
  • Can be an effective alternative as aspirin.

The Side Effects

Aspirin may cause stomach aches, heartburn, and nausea for people with sensitive digestive systems. What’s even worse is that aspirin is an anticoagulant drug, which makes it a bad choice of medicine for hemophiliacs. It doesn’t even suit as a pain reliever for people after a successful surgical operation. And also, Aspirin shouldn’t be taken by a child or teenager to relieve fever. By doing so, it will lead to “Reye’s Syndrome,” a rare fatal condition that is present in children.

Acetaminophen, on the other hand, can cause severe liver damage if taken too much than the recommended dosage prescribed by your doctor. If you’re a person that likes to drink alcohol too much, combining this with acetaminophen overdose will harm your liver in the long run. Even though it’s renowned as the “safest” over-the-counter drug among many, it’s best to keep things minimal and follow what your health specialist says about taking acetaminophen.

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