Can you combine paracetamol and ibuprofen?

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Can you combine paracetamol and ibuprofen?


Paracetamol and ibuprofen are the most common pain relievers and are freely available. Therefore, the risk of accidentally overdosing on these medications is greater than the risk of taking painkillers that are only available by prescription. So it is very important that you use it responsibly.

Read also: Do ​​you know the recommended dose of paracetamol and the risks of overdose?

Read also: Types of analgesics and the differences in their effects

The difference between paracetamol and ibuprofen

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Paracetamol has an analgesic and antipyretic effect, but has no anti-inflammatory properties. Common examples of paracetamol include Perdolan®, Panadol®, Dafalgan®, Algostase® and their generic variants. Paracetamol is the most commonly used medicine for fever and pain. It is also safe to use for children, the elderly, and during pregnancy, provided that the maximum quantity is respected. In acute pain it is also better to take paracetamol.

Ibuprofen belongs to NSAIDs (NSAIDs) or anti-inflammatories: they not only reduce pain and relieve fever, but also fight inflammation. This group of pain relievers includes Ibuprofen®, Nurofen®, Alève® and Perviam®. This painkiller is often used when paracetamol does not help enough, for example with joint pain, menstrual pain or migraines. Doctors also prescribe the medication to treat the flu or common cold.

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Read also: Painkillers: What is ibuprofen?

What are the side effects?

Paracetamol rarely has any side effects with normal use. Sometimes hypersensitivity reactions occur, such as rash, urticaria, and fever. A paracetamol overdose can have side effects such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite.

With an anti-inflammatory pain reliever such as ibuprofen, the main side effects occur in the stomach. Anyone with a higher risk of developing a stomach ulcer or stomach bleeding should take a gastric protectant with ibuprofen. This also applies to patients over 70 years of age. It's best to avoid alcohol when taking anti-inflammatory pain relievers, as taking alcohol with ibuprofen can make stomach pain worse. Finally, ibuprofen can be harmful during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Read also: Contraindications: When should you not use ibuprofen?

How to combine paracetamol and ibuprofen?

Since the side effects of ibuprofen are more serious, paracetamol should be the first choice. For example, if you suffer from a headache, it is better to take two 500mg paracetamol tablets rather than one ibuprofen tablet. If you have a toothache, it is sometimes necessary to use anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen. In this case, ask your dentist for a schedule of when it is best to take paracetamol or ibuprofen throughout the day. It's also always a good idea to discuss long-term use (longer than three days) of pain relievers with your doctor.

If you want to combine the two treatments on your own, there are some guidelines:

  • When combining both analgesics, you should consider the maximum dose of 4g paracetamol and 1200mg ibuprofen.
  • If you combine them, it's best to switch them up for optimal effect. For example, start with 500 mg of paracetamol. After three hours you can take 400 mg of ibuprofen. After 4 hours, you take 500 mg of paracetamol again, alternating over 24 hours.
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Read also: What is the strongest painkiller?

Have you accidentally exceeded the maximum daily dose of your pain reliever? Please contact your doctor, pharmacist, or poison control center. Do this even if you don't experience complaints right away. A paracetamol overdose can cause permanent liver damage, and an ibuprofen overdose can cause stomach bleeding.

Read also: This is how quickly paracetamol can poison you


Last updated: April 2024

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Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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