Aleve vs Ibuprofen: What Are the Differences?

Aleve vs Ibuprofen: What Are the Differences? << Go Back

Aleve vs Ibuprofen. What exactly is the difference between these two temporary pain relief drugs? Keep reading to find out about their differences and similarities.

Aleve vs Ibuprofen: What Are They, Exactly?

Aleve is a temporary pain relief brand name drug which has naproxen as its active ingredient. Ibuprofen is the active ingredient in over-the-counter temporary relief drugs like Advil and Motrin. While the active ingredients for Aleve vs Advil are different, they both fall within the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) class. For this reason, they work in similar ways. However, they also have key differences. Aleve has a slower onset but is long-acting which means it treats pain or inflammation over a longer period of time. Advil, on the other hand, is short-acting. This means that its onset is much quicker than Aleve but doesn’t treat pain or inflammation for as long. Both naproxen and ibuprofen inhibit the COX-2 enzymes that are associated with inflammation. However, they are considered non-selective NSAIDs because they also block COX-1 enzymes which help to maintain the stomach lining. With this in mind, there is a risk of gastrointestinal issues from consistent use.

Aleve vs Advil: What’s Better at Treating What?

Since Aleve and Advil are both NSAIDs, they treat the same ailments but at different rates. Aleve’s onset is much slower but longer-lasting, whereas Advil’s onset is a lot quicker but doesn’t last as long. They each offer temporary relief for the following:
  • Muscle aches
  • Toothaches
  • Sinus pain
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Headaches
  • Swelling
  • Mild arthritis
Aleve vs Advil for headaches Both naproxen and ibuprofen can also be used to reduce fevers; however acetaminophen (an active ingredient commonly found in Tylenol) is more effective. Keep in mind that if your pain is nerve-related, neither Aleve nor Advil will be very effective. If you're looking for pain relief from arthritis, learn more about the 10 types of arthritis pain and the treatments.

Dose and Usage

Adults and children 12 and over can take one 200mg tablet every four to six hours while symptoms last. The maximum dose for Advil is 400mg for each individual dose. It isn’t recommended to exceed six tablets within a 24-hour period. As for Aleve, you can take one 220mg tablet every 8 to 12 hours while symptoms persist. For the first dose, the maximum dosage you can take within the first hour is 440mg. That amounts to two of the 220mg pills. Keep in mind that you should not exceed more than two tablets in a 12-hour span. It’s also important to note that the maximum dosage for Aleve within a 24 hour period is 660mg. That amounts to three of the 220mg tablets. Be sure to consult with your doctor or pharmacist if you have further questions about dosage for Aleve vs Advil.

Side Effects and Complications of Aleve vs Ibuprofen

Because it’s longer acting, Aleve is more likely to bring about gastrointestinal issues than drugs that have ibuprofen. Having said this, prolonged use of both naproxen and ibuprofen can lead to issues like stomach ulcers or bleeding1. Side effects of Aleve vs ibuprofen Those with a history of heart or liver disease should also avoid naproxen and ibuprofen as they could increase blood pressure with regular use. If you'd like to prevent heart disease or other problems, give these top 10 healthy heart tips a try! A few side effects which you could experience when taking Aleve include:
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Acid reflux
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache (ironic, right?)
A few side effects of drugs that contain ibuprofen could include:
  • Upset stomach or indigestion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Acid reflux
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

Final Word

While they have different active ingredients, Aleve and Advil both have the same end goal: to provide temporary relief from pain caused by inflammation. Even though these drugs are over-the-counter and safe to use, it’s best to speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you have a history of heart or liver disease, gastrointestinal problems, asthma, or blood disorders. If you're looking for an alternative way to find relief, try these foods that reduce inflammation as well!

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