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Can You Combine Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen?

Ibuprofen and acetaminophen both target pain, but they work in different ways. If both medications are different, does that mean they can be combined? The good news is that an FDA-approved medication that combines both ibuprofen and acetaminophen already exists. Learn if both ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be taken together and how Advil Dual Action is the only over-the-counter medication that combines both.

What Is Ibuprofen?

Over-the-counter ibuprofen—the active ingredient in regular Advil tablets—belongs to a group of medications called non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It’s used to reduce fever and relieve minor aches and pains from:1

  • headaches
  • muscle aches
  • arthritis
  • menstrual periods
  • the common cold
  • toothaches
  • backaches

Ibuprofen relieves pain by blocking the production of prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance that causes aches, fever and inflammation. Prostaglandins are signaling factors that make us more aware of pain and fever in inflamed areas. Ibuprofen reacts with our body’s chemistry to inhibit their production, so we feel less pain.2

What Is Acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen is in a class of medications called analgesics (pain relievers) and antipyretics (fever reducers). It’s used to bring down a fever and relieve minor to moderate aches and pains from:3

  • headaches
  • muscle aches
  • menstrual periods
  • colds and sore throats
  • toothaches
  • backaches
  • soreness due to shots and vaccines

Acetaminophen works by changing the way your body reacts to pain and cooling you down.3 While it can relieve pain, acetaminophen is not an anti-inflammatory agent. In addition, acetaminophen isn’t supposed to be combined with certain substances. Taking acetaminophen while drinking alcohol is highly discouraged and has the potential to make your liver susceptible to damage.2

Can You Take Both Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen Together?

The FDA has approved an over-the-counter product that combines acetaminophen and ibuprofen in one medication called Advil Dual Action. This ibuprofen and acetaminophen combination can be used to treat minor aches and pains including headache, backache, toothache, menstrual cramps, muscle ache and arthritis pain.4 The combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen relieves pain more effectively than either ingredient on its own.5

The Benefits of a Dual-Action Medication

As America continues to battle the opioid epidemic, there is still a demand for alternative pain medications that can be used instead. According to the American Dental Association, NSAIDs with or without the added benefit of acetaminophen are preferred to opioid medications as a first line option for most patients. Dual-Action medications may help simplify the process of treating pain and become another standard first line of defense instead of opioids.5

Advil Dual Action

Advil Dual Action is the first and only FDA-approved over-the-counter medication that combines both acetaminophen and ibuprofen for maximum pain relief. Combining ibuprofen and acetaminophen allows you to take a lower daily dose of both while still reaping the same pain-relieving benefits. Advil Dual Action provides eight hours of powerful relief and fights toothaches, backaches, menstrual cramps, muscle pains or minor pains of arthritis. Advil Dual Action includes the following doses for effective pain relief (dosage is 2 caplets):

  • 250 mg Ibuprofen
  • 500 mg Acetaminophen

Each medication fights pain in a different way: acetaminophen blocks pain signals while ibuprofen targets pain at the source. Get fast-acting and long-lasting pain relief with Advil Dual Action today or learn more about pain relief via our symptoms and tips blog.

Source Citations:

1. Ibuprofen: MedlinePlus Drug Information. Accessed 10/11/22.

2. Know the Difference Between Your Pain Relievers – UTMC. Accessed 10/11/22.

3. Acetaminophen: MedlinePlus Drug Information. Accessed 10/11/22.

4. Ibuprofen And Acetaminophen (Oral Route) Description and Brand Names - Mayo Clinic. Accessed 10/11/22.

5. FDA approves combination ibuprofen-acetaminophen drug for U.S. | American Dental Association. Accessed 10/11/22.

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