Ibuprofen and aspirin are over-the-counter NSAIDs used to relieve minor aches and pains and to reduce fever. But they are different in terms of their active ingredient, side effects, dosage and applications.

It is sometimes not advisable to take ibuprofen and aspirin together. People taking antibiotics like Paramycin and Garamycin should avoid ibuprofen while people taking anti-depressants should avoid Aspirin.

A daily low-dose aspirin is often recommended by doctors to prevent heart attacks and strokes, but only for people who have already had a stroke, heart attack or cardiovascular problems.[1] Aspirin is the most widely used medication in the world, with over 40,000 tonnes consumed annually.[2]

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Legal status Over the counter (U.S.) Over the counter (OTC) in the U.S.; Unscheduled (AU); GSL (UK);
Routes Most commonly oral, also rectal. Lysine acetylsalicylate may be given IV or IM Oral, rectal, topical, and intravenous
Bioavailability Rapidly and completely absorbed 49–73%
Used for Pain relief, fever reduction, anti-inflammatory. Pain relief, fever reduction, improved blood flow
Trade names Aspirin (Bayer) Ibuprofen is the generic name. Brand names for the drug include Advil, Motrin, IBU, Caldolor, EmuProfen
Formula C9H8O4 C13H18O2
Half life 300–650 mg dose: 3.1–3.2 hours; 1 g dose: 5 hours; 2 g dose: 9 hours 1.8–2 hours
Adverse effects Stomach/intenstine bleeding Severe stomach bleeding including ulcers, heartburn, gastrointestinal upset, constipation.
Pregnancy category Not safe: C (AU) D (US) C (AU); D (US)
Protein binding 99.6% 99%

edit Is Aspirin the same as Ibuprofen?

No. Ibuprofen is not aspirin nor does it contain aspirin. The chemical name for aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid. Aspirin is a generic drug and is sold by several manufacturers under various brand names. Ibuprofen, which is isobutylphenyl propionic acid, is also a generic that is sold under various brand names, such as Advil.

edit Applications

Both aspirin and ibuprofen are used for pain relief and to reduce fevers. However, aspirin is generally ineffective at treating pain caused by muscle cramps, bloating and skin irritation. In such cases, ibuprofen is preferable compared to aspirin. Aspirin is effective in treating headaches and migraines, reducing fever (although not in children), and preventing heart attacks and strokes in at-risk individuals.

edit Antiplatelet Effect

Both ibuprofen and aspirin have an antiplatelet effect i.e. they prevent the risk of heart attacks and strokes by improving the circulation of blood in the arteries by preventing platelet aggregation. However, the antiplatelet effect of ibuprofen is relatively mild and short-lived compared to aspirin. Doctors often prescribe a daily low-dose aspirin to cardiovascular patients at risk for heart attacks.

edit Prophylactic use

Taking aspirin daily at doses between 75 and 325 mg/day has been shown to be beneficial in reducing the risk of cancer, with longer use likely to provide greater benefits.[3] Cardiologists also recommend a daily dose of aspirin to prevent heart attacks. However, due to the risk of stomach bleeding, this recommendation has been amended to now apply not to the general population but only to those who are already at risk for cardiovascular health.

edit Drug Interactions

Ibuprofen should not be mixed with aminoglycosides such as Paromycin, Garamycin or Tobi. Aspirin should not be mixed with NSAIDs (like naproxen), anti-depressants like Celexa and Lexapro, or alcohol because it increases the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.

edit Aspirin and Ibuprofen together

Ibuprofen can interfere with the anti-platelet effect of low-dose aspirin (81 mg per day). This can render aspirin less effective (this is called attenuation) when used for preventing heart attacks. However, this risk is minimal if ibuprofen is used only occasionally because aspirin has a relatively long-lasting effect on platelets. The US FDA recommends that patients who use immediate-release aspirin (not enteric coated) and take a single dose of ibuprofen 400 mg should dose the ibuprofen at least 30 minutes or longer after aspirin ingestion, or more than 8 hours before aspirin ingestion to avoid attenuation of aspirin's effect.

Note that this FDA recommendation is only for immediate-release low-dose aspirin (81 mg). The effects of the interaction of ibuprofen with enteric-coated aspirin are not known so it may not be advisable to use the two concomitantly. As always, it is best to consult your doctor about this drug interaction and the timing of when to take these drugs. Nonselective OTC NSAIDs other than ibuprofen (such as naproxen) should also be viewed as having the potential to interfere with the antiplatelet effect of low-dose aspirin.

edit Side effects

Potential side effects of ibuprofen include nausea, gastrointestinal bleeding, diarrhea, constipation, headache, dizziness, salt and fluid retention and hypertension. Rare side effects include esophageal ulcers, heart failure, renal impairment and confusion. Overdose can lead to death.

Potential side effects of aspirin include upset stomach, heartburn, drowsiness and headache. More severe side effects can include gastrointestinal bleeding, severe nausea, fever, swelling and hearing problems. Aspirin should be avoided up to 1 week before surgeries, including cosmetic procedures like tummy tucks or facelifts. It is also recommended to avoid aspirin during a flu infection (especially influenza type B) because doing so can lead to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease of the liver.

edit Recommended Dosage of ibuprofen and aspirin

The adult dose for ibuprofen is between 200mg and 800mg per dose, up to four times a day. A doctor should be consulted in the case of an overdose. The adult dose for aspirin is typically 325mg, which can be taken four times a day.

edit References

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