Analgesics are drugs that help ease pain. Tylenol and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are both analgesics. However, Tylenol is not an NSAID.

Tylenol is the brand name for the drug acetaminophen, and it works by disrupting pain signals in the body.

NSAIDs alleviate pain while reducing inflammation. They work by preventing the production of a hormone that controls inflammation.

These two drugs have different mechanisms of action in the body.

This article outlines the various uses of Tylenol and NSAIDs, and looks at the possible side effects and risks of both. We also provide information on which drug is more effective for treating fevers.

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Tylenol is an analgesic. This is a class of drugs that provide pain relief by disrupting nerve signals that trigger pain. Tylenol is also an antipyretic, meaning it may reduce fevers.

A person may use Tylenol to ease the following symptoms:

Tylenol can be dangerous if a person takes the medication incorrectly.

For example, people may experience severe liver damage by:

  • taking more than 4,000 milligrams (mg) of Tylenol in 24 hours
  • taking other drugs that contain acetaminophen
  • drinking three or more alcoholic drinks per day while taking Tylenol

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and various other products, including Vicks and NyQuil.

People who take multiple medications should check the product labels to ensure that they do not exceed the 4,000 mg daily limit of acetaminophen. Anyone who takes more than this should see a doctor immediately.

It is possible to take Tylenol with NSAIDs. They are different drugs that work differently in the body. However, a person should be careful not to exceed the recommended dosage for either drug.

NSAIDs are medications that reduce inflammation and pain. They work by disrupting the production of prostaglandins, hormones that control inflammation, blood flow, and blood clotting.

By inhibiting prostaglandins, NSAIDs can reduce fever, inflammation, and associated pain.

The most common types of NSAIDs include:

  • Aspirin is useful for treating pain, fever, and inflammation. It may also reduce the risk of a heart attack.
  • Ibuprofen helps treat post-surgical pain, fever, and a range of inflammatory conditions.
  • Naproxen is a common treatment for back pain and fever.
  • Celecoxib is a common prescription-only treatment for arthritis.

The occasional use of NSAIDs is generally safe for most people. However, those with chronic conditions or a history of stomach ulcers should talk to a doctor before taking them.

Some potential side effects of NSAIDs include:

In rare cases, NSAIDs may cause serious side effects, with the risk increasing with long-term use and in people with a history of heart disease. Examples of severe side effects include:

NSAIDs can also trigger stomach ulcers and bleeding. Factors that may increase these risks include:

Ibuprofen is an NSAID available over the counter. It helps ease pain while reducing inflammation.

Both ibuprofen and Tylenol help alleviate pain and reduce fever. Both are effective for 4–6 hours.

Ibuprofen is more suitable for moderate pain, rather than mild. It can also be more effective in treating inflammatory symptoms that may accompany a fever, such as sinusitis or backaches.

Personal preference may influence someone’s decision to take Tylenol or ibuprofen for a fever.

Tylenol and NSAIDs are both pain-relieving medications, but the former is not an NSAID. Unlike Tylenol, NSAIDs also reduce inflammation. Since each drug works differently, it is generally safe to take them together.

Tylenol has a variety of uses, including treating fever, muscle pain, and arthritis. It is generally safe to use. However, taking more than 4,000 mg per day can cause serious side effects, such as liver damage.

The active ingredient in Tylenol is acetaminophen. Many products contain this substance, so check the ingredients of other medicines while taking Tylenol to avoid an overdose. People should also note that dosages may vary depending on a person’s age and weight.