Date TimeOctober 30, 2019
VoicePain is a given and, at some point in your life, you’re likely to find yourself reaching for the paracetamol or ibuprofen. For some, this is a more frequent occurrence than for others. But are you reaching for the right one?
Aspirin, Paracetamol Or Ibuprofen – Which Pill Should You Take For Your Pain?
There are three main types of painkiller people can buy without a prescription: ibuprofen, paracetamol and aspirin. They all reduce pain and fever, says Phil Day, a pharmacist for Pharmacy2U, but some are better at treating certain ailments compared to others.
First up, it’s worth flagging that painkillers aren’t always the answer and people with underlying health conditions should be careful. “If you have a heart condition, you should always seek advice from your pharmacist or GP before taking any form of pain relief,” says LloydsPharmacy pharmacist, Pareena Patel.
“If you can, it is advised that you seek drug-free alternatives such as hot and cold therapy to help alleviate pain.”
But if it’s suitable for you to ease your pain with ibuprofen, paracetamol or aspirin, which pill should you be taking? We asked the experts. Related... Should You Be Taking Codeine For Your Period Pain? Paracetamol Take for: Colds, flu, sore throats, headaches and toothache. 
Paracetamol is a common painkiller, usually in tablet or capsule form, that takes up to an hour to kick in. People tend to take one or two 500mg pills every four hours. For young children, it’s often given in liquid form (Calpol) at a lower dosage – but it should never be given to babies younger than two months old, unless prescribed by a doctor.
“Paracetamol is generally safe and very well tolerated, and is used for most types of pain, including colds and flu, sore throats, headaches and toothache,” says pharmacist Phil Day. It can also be used to reduce a high temperature – ideal for cold and flu season.
One of the benefits of paracetamol, says Day, is that it’s gentle on the stomach and clashes with very few other medicines. However, it’s important not to exceed the recommend dosage or take multiple paracetamol-containing medicines at the same time, as “it can be toxic to the liver in the event of even a small overdose”.
If you’re taking medication for an underlying health condition, paracetamol is often recommended as the safest form of pain relief to have, says Patel. And while you should avoid taking medicines when pregnant, “paracetamol is usually safe for those who are pregnant and looking to treat mild to moderate pain”.
In general, people should be careful not to overuse paracetamol in day-to-day life as this can worsen, or even prompt, headaches, adds Dr Kenny Livingstone, a registered GP and chief medical officer of ZoomDoc. Read more about taking paracetamol here. Related... Taking Paracetamol During Pregnancy: Everything You Need To Know IbuprofenTake for: Joint and muscle pain (including back pain), sprains, injuries, migraines and period pain.
Ibuprofen has an anti-inflammatory effect – it reduces hormones that cause pain and swelling in the body – as well as providing pain relief. Adults and teens are advised to take between 200mg and 400mg of ibuprofen three or four times a day, leaving at least four hours between doses. The strength and dosage for children depends on their age, so read the instructions carefully. 
Like paracetamol, ibuprofen is available in tablets, capsules, a liquid for children, as well as a rub-in gel. People are advised to take the tablets with food or a drink of milk to reduce the chance of stomach upset. The time it takes to kick in depends on the way it’s taken – it can take up to half an hour if you take it by mouth, or one to two days if you put it on your skin. 
Ibuprofen is suitable for issues like joint and muscle pain (this is where the gel may come in handy), migraine and period pain. It’s generally considered to be safer and more effective than aspirin for general pain relief, as it irritates the stomach less, explains Day. 
The drug isn’t suitable for everyone. “Generally the elderly, or patients with either renal (kidney) or gastric problems, are best staying clear of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, naproxen or diclofenac,” says Dr Livingstone. The risk of renal impairment, stomach ulcers or potentially gastrointestinal bleeds is far greater in these groups, he adds.
Dr Livingstone says while paracetamol is usually first line for most fevers in children, ibuprofen can also be used – “but always remember to avoid ibuprofen if your child has chickenpox.” This is because research suggests it may lead to an increased risk of serious skin infection.
Pregnant women should not take ibuprofen unless a doctor prescribes it. And it’s worth noting that no one should take ibuprofen consecutively for more than 10 days. Read more about taking ibuprofen here. Related... Livia Review: Can This Cute Device Really 'Switch Off' My Severe Period Pain? AspirinTake for: Migraines, upper respiratory infections, sore throats, fever or flu, mild backache or dental infections. Low-dose aspirin is also used to prevent heart attack and strokes.
Aspirin is another drug that has an additional anti-inflammatory effect, however it’s “significantly more likely” to cause gastrointestinal side effects than low-dose ibuprofen. Aspirin and ibuprofen should not be taken together.
It usually comes in tablet form, but you can also buy gels, as well as soluble tablets that dissolve in water. The NHS recommends taking aspirin with food to avoid stomach upset. Unlike paracetamol and ibuprofen, the drug is not suitable for children and shouldn’t be given to anyone under 16 unless prescribed by a doctor, says Day. It’s also not recommended after 30 weeks of pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
The drug is usually best for migraines, upper respiratory infections, mild backache or dental infections, says Dr Livingstone. Soluble aspirin can be gargled for three to four minutes to ease a sore throat or tonsillitis. Aspirin can also help to bring down temperatures if you have a fever or flu-like symptoms, adds Jamie Urquhart, pharmacist at Now Patient, and is quite often found as the main drug on cold and flu remedies.
For ongoing issues like period pain and arthritis, people tend to prefer using ibuprofen because the risk of side effects increases with prolonged use of aspirin. Read more about taking aspirin here.
“I think it’s fair to say that aspirin is something that the older generation will think of as a go-to painkiller,” says Day. “Ibuprofen has only been available without prescription since 1983.”
He says he “can’t think of a single advantage” of taking aspirin when compared to ibuprofen. “Aspirin, in a very low dose, has great benefits as an anti-platelet drug (to prevent heart disease and stroke). But as a painkiller, ibuprofen is more effective and is less likely to irritate the stomach.”
Ultimately, says Day, whichever painkiller you choose, you should read the box and leaflet carefully; use it for the shortest time necessary to relieve the pain; and talk to your pharmacist or GP if the symptoms persist.Related... Raynaud's Disease Impacts 1 In 5 People – But Many Have Never Heard Of It Why Am I Tired All The Time? We Asked A Doctor When To Seek Help How To Prevent A Cold Or Flu With 11 Doctor-Approved Tips

Re-electing Boris Johnson Won't Fix The Country – Things Will Only Get So Much Worse
Marngrook Footy Show: Indigenous AFL program axed by SBS after 12 years on air
Brexit Bulletin: Delaying Tactics
Putin Faces Syria Money Crunch After U.S. Keeps Control of Oil
Army officer tells impeachment inquiry of gaps in Trump's Ukraine transcript
Missouri agency tracked Planned Parenthood patients' periods
London police detain jailed former Mexican governor's wife; faces extradition trial
Last-Minute India Demands Jeopardize 16-Nation Asian Trade Pact
England sweat on Kyle Sinckler after restricted part in training session
Late night hosts are uniformly disgusted at Trump and his Fox News friends sliming Lt. Col. Vindman
'The Worst Christmas Present': Voters In Preston React To The December General Election
Police hunt for brothers from Northern Ireland over truck deaths
Israel's Netanyahu plans to move funds from civilian to military spending
Tucker Carlson and Guest Blame Diversity and ‘Woke’ Culture for California Fires
World Series: Stephen Strasburg tames Astros as Nationals force Game 7
Sam Burgess forced to retire from rugby league due to injury
Wales make nine changes for game of farewells against New Zealand
Film News Roundup: Patrick Schwarzenegger Joins Amy Poehler’s Drama ‘Moxie’
Kayla Mueller: Parents of US hostage killed by Isis 'grateful' that Baghdadi raid named after their daughter
$16.8M in campaign funds have gone to Trump businesses, records reveal
In historic vote, US House recognizes 'Armenian genocide'
Senior adviser Jared Kushner: Time in White House spent 'cleaning up the messes' left by Biden
Woman who repeatedly told boyfriend to kill himself charged with manslaughter after his suicide
Russia says Kurds complete withdrawal from Turkish border
MVPs of Horror: Dee Wallace on delivering one of the all-time great screams in 'The Howling'
‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel ‘House of the Dragon’ Ordered Straight to Series at HBO
‘Lodge 49’ Canceled After Two Seasons at AMC
School Nurse Reveals Bonfire Night Pollution Triggered Asthma Attack
Home Secretary Priti Patel's Adviser Escorted From Commons Bar By Police
Teen's family says he complained of bullying before death
'I lost my whole life': California fire victim returns to devastation
Vietnam says trying to speed up identification of UK truck dead
NRA Officials Found NRATV Messaging to Be ‘Distasteful and Racist’: Lawsuit
World Series Game 6: Washington Nationals v Houston Astros – live!
People should stop throwing stones inside English football's glass house | David Conn
European football roundup: Barcelona and Inter climb back to top
Phil Neville challenges younger players to raise their game for England
Chelsea’s Frank Lampard says dropping youngsters is only for ‘flip-floppers’
The It List: Apple TV+ debuts, new Princess Di doc explores her relationship with her 'wicked' stepmother, Miranda Lambert drops 'Wildcard' and the best in pop culture the week of October 28, 2019
Female MPs Condemn 'Distasteful' Media Coverage Of Meghan Markle In Open Letter
Why I Made A Video Game To Challenge Muslim Stereotypes
Here's What Happens Next Now MPs Have Backed A December 12 Election
General Election Set To Be On December 12 As MPs Back Move To Break Brexit Deadlock
Navy upholds sentencing of Navy SEAL for posing with corpse
California wildfires: fierce winds may spread blazes as millions lose power
Pelosi announces full House vote on impeachment inquiry
Frustration rises amid another round of California blackouts
Climate activist Greta Thunberg declines environmental award
Trump mimics Dayton shooting during first visit to Chicago as president: 'Boom boom boom'
CNN Anchor Brianna Keilar Scorches New Colleague Sean Duffy’s ‘Anti-Immigrant Bigotry’ Towards Vindman
Eddie Jones takes inspiration from what made South Africa great in 2007 | Ugo Monye
England’s boulder boys can stop South Africa’s giants in their tracks
Sergio Agüero hits double but Saints avoid hiding at Manchester City
English football should not be so keen to mount its high horse so readily | David Conn
Deadspin editor fired amid uprising against ‘stick to sports’ order
NCAA votes to allow college athletes to make money from their fame
Relief for Marco Silva after Everton’s Holgate and Richarlison sink Watford
James Maddison makes Burton pay and helps fire Leicester into last eight
Kanye West says marriage should be counted in dog years
Eric Swalwell and Mark Meadows reportedly got into a shouting match during the Vindman hearing
Alyssa Milano to Co-Host Fundraiser for Joe Biden
Home Secretary's Adviser Escorted From Commons Bar By Police
General Election Set To Be On December 12 As MPs Back Legislation
MPs Fail To Change General Election Date To December 9
Global leaders, tycoons flock to Saudi 'Davos in desert'
Bannon to escalate Trump impeachment defense with his own political operation
Chicago teachers union calls meeting of delegates, cautions no deal yet
Six Syrian soldiers killed as regime army and Turkish military clash for first time since offensive
Frustration mounts as California is hit with more blackouts
Trump wants US companies to tap Syria’s oil, despite experts warning that could be a war crime
Man City v Southampton, Everton v Watford: Carabao Cup – live!
Charlie Appleby banks on Old Persian for his shot at Breeders’ Cup Turf
Eric Swalwell and Mark Meadows reportedly got into a shouting match during Vindman hearing
Liz Cheney calls out Trump allies' 'shameful' attacks on impeachment witness and decorated veteran Lt. Col. Vindman
Kevin Spacey Won’t Be Charged in Sexual Assault Case After Accuser Dies
‘Game Of Thrones’ Prequel Pilot Starring Naomi Watts Not Going Forward At HBO
UEFA Has Failed To Crackdown On Bulgaria's Racism – Football Fans Must Now Take A Stand
Johnson Readmits Ten MPs To Tory Party But Hammond And Other Brexit Rebels Barred
Cross-party female MPs condemn UK media's treatment of Meghan
Australian sentenced to 36 years for murder, rape of Israeli
In a Kurdish prison, former IS fighters never see the sun
Daylight saving time is ending this weekend. These states want to make DST permanent
Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigns saying he has 'reached a dead end'
Correction: Puerto Rico-Cruise Ship Death story
The Preppy Murderer Who Cried Rape—and the Media Listened
Warren Knocks New York Dems’ Attempt to Edge Out Third Parties, Saying it Will ‘Benefit Republicans’
Trump news – live: Key impeachment witness gives 'extremely disturbing' testimony about Ukraine call
Who are the Vietnamese feared dead in UK truck tragedy?
England fined for V-shaped formation facing New Zealand’s haka
Kiki Bertens makes most of late chance by beating world No 1 Ashleigh Barty
Wales to turn ‘disappointment into fire’ in Gatland’s final act against All Blacks
Australian rugby crisis continues in absence of long-term sustainable plan | Bret Harris
The Fiver | The banter-tastic environs of Zoe Ball’s Breakfast Show
Jacob Rees-Mogg: my early career as an avant garde film star
Harry Dunn's Parents To Launch Legal Action Against Trump Administration Over 'Lawless Misconduct'
The Gender Pay Gap Will Only Close If We Start Paying Proper Attention
Halloween Ideas 2019: These Fleabag-Inspired Outfits Are Everything
GOP wipeout feared as impeachment fever spills over into House and Senate races
Syria Kurds say took DNA sample from Baghdadi underwear
Syrian Kurds beef up security in Isil detention centres in anticipation of riots over Baghdadi killing
Disney World moves on from Skyliner mishap, touts 1 million riders
Trump news – live: Key impeachment witness testifies over threat to ‘national security’, as president accuses decorated veteran of political bias
Brussels court postpones extradition hearing on ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont
Court Hearing Scheduled for Witness: Impeachment Update
Egypt arrests train conductor after youth jumps to his death
'It's hell' without Compaore: Burkinabes miss dictator five years on
Sanders: U.S. Should Withhold Military Aid Unless Israel ‘Fundamentally Changes’ Relationship With Gaza
Bulgaria ordered to play one game behind closed doors over racism
Toni Duggan: ‘I wanted the ground to suck me in, for the game just to end’
Granit Xhaka ‘devastated and sad’ after Crystal Palace game, says Unai Emery
Liverpool to include Harvey Elliott for game against Arsenal after FA ban
We Need To Look Beyond The Headlines If We’re Ever Going To Close The Gender Pay Gap
Handcuffed Man Died After Leaping Into River As He Tried To Evade Police, Inquest Hears
Strictly Come Dancing's Chris Ramsey To Pay Homage To Ant And Dec As He Tackles Street Dance
Scarlett Moffatt Breaks Down In Tears As She Shares 'Vile' Letter Comparing Her To A Pork Chop
Vietnam Seizes $4.3B in Falsely Labeled Chinese Aluminum
Baghdadi leaves bitter legacy in Iraqi city of Mosul he terrorized
Cambodian police question 6 about missing British backpacker
Apple's iOS 13.2 brings gender-neutral emoji options
Trump Administration Challenges California Sanctuary Law in Supreme Court
Putin hosts Cuban leader for talks on expanding ties
Former Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman to admit he told ‘a lot of lies’
Bulgaria ordered to play one game behind closed doors over England racism
Former special counsel thinks Alexander Vindman will get Gordon Sondland in 'deep, deep legal trouble'
These Fleabag-Themed Halloween Costumes Are Everything
Lib Dem MP Heidi Allen To Step Down Due To 'Brexit Impasse' And 'Nastiness And Intimidation'
Make It Last: How To Have A More Sustainable Sex Life
Game of Thrones: how the show’s creators prompted a huge new fan backlash
Biden Denied Communion at South Carolina Church Due to Stance On Abortion
North Carolina's congressional map is illegal Republican gerrymander, court rules
Judge Allows Covington Student’s $250 Million Suit against WaPo to Move Forward
Utility says power lines may have started 2 California fires
Texas police officer shot his own son, thinking he was a home intruder, police say
Irish priests call for celibacy rules to be relaxed and women to be ordained amid clergymen shortage
Masked gunmen attack protesters in Iraq holy city; 18 killed
Russian 'Trojan horse' bank stokes unease in Hungary
Army officer says he raised concerns about Trump and Ukraine
South Africa hope inside knowledge can halt England in Rugby World Cup final
Kiki Bertens shocks Ashleigh Barty at WTA Finals – as it happened
Wales to turn ‘disappointment into fire’ as Gatland signs off against All Blacks
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan gets two-year cricket corruption ban
Fran Kirby left out as Phil Neville picks squad for England clash with Germany
Kelechi Osemele shows why players wonder if teams care about their welfare
CNN re-airs its own contributor's comments as an example of a pro-Trump smear campaign
Roma, Benny Hill style: why film-makers hate Netflix's fast-forward button
Could Morrisons' Mince Pie Sandwich Be A Christmas Hit? We Tasted It
Jennifer Aniston Teases Friends Cast Are 'Working On Something', Fuelling Reunion Speculation
Brexit 50p Coins Are Melting Down… Just Like The Country
Amelia Bambridge: Six Men Questioned Over British Backpacker Missing In Cambodia
EU disputes Facebook's claims of progress against fake accounts
Gulf dispute unacceptable, must be resolved: Kuwaiti emir
Six Cambodians held as hopes fade for missing British tourist
Bursting at the seams: inside an IS prison in Syria
Fox News Panel Speculates That Latest Trump Impeachment Witness Committed Espionage
Ukrainian troops withdrawing from eastern town: foreign minister
Nigerian pastor accused of abusing children who fled Boko Haram
He was undocumented. Now he's exposing detention center abuse
Get Ready For SEMA With This Highly Custom Bronco
Strong quake jolts southern Philippines, 6 dead, scores hurt
Chicago teachers strike enters ninth day after overnight talks end
Calypso calamity! Hunt for the lost tapes of 100-year-old Walter Ferguson
Baby It's Cold Outside rewritten by John Legend to remove 'date-rape' lyric
Ashleigh Barty v Kiki Bertens: WTA Finals – live!
The Spin | Travel fails to broaden the mind when it comes to the Hundred
David Squires on … where's Mesut?
‘It was a try’: England’s Mark Cueto still haunted by ghosts of 2007 final
Phil Neville picks squad for England’s ‘momentous’ clash with Germany
Talking Horses: documentary reveals drama behind Khadijah Mellah's win
The Great Britain Lions go into New Zealand Test bruised and beaten
The making of Roberto Firmino, by his earliest mentors in Brazil
Japanese football team scores two goals from halfway in 90 seconds – video
'Bring it on' says Billy Vunipola ahead of Rugby World Cup final with South Africa – video
Leonardo: The Works review – magnificent tour of the masterpieces
Grandmother Killed When Gender-Reveal Party Stunt Device Exploded Like A Pipebomb
UK Set For December Election As Jeremy Corbyn Backs Snap Poll
Medical Cannabis 'Could Do More Harm Than Good' For Depression And Anxiety
Chris Packham Doubles Down On I'm A Celebrity Criticism, After Being Booed At TV Choice Awards
It's Finally Happening – An Actual Brexit Meltdown (Of Sorts)
Amelia Bambridge: Father Of British Backpacker Missing In Cambodia Fears She Has Been Abducted
This Haunted House Takes Halloween To New Level – Take A Look Inside
Grandfather Charged Over Death Of Toddler Killed In 11-Storey Fall On Board Cruise Ship
Strictly Come Dancing's Shirley Ballas Stands Strong Amid Catherine Tyldesley's Exit Backlash
Tick-Borne Encephalitis Found In UK For First Time – What You Need To Know
John Legend And Kelly Clarkson Record New (Less Creepy) Version Of Baby, It's Cold Outside
Game Of Thrones Bosses Explain Decision To Quit Planned Star Wars Trilogy
Army Officer Says He Raised Flags About Trump’s Ukraine Call
Federal Prosecutors Are Lining Up Witnesses Against Jeffrey Epstein’s Cronies
Strong quake jolts southern Philippines, 1 dead, dozens hurt
Indian boy dies after three days stuck in well
Taylor Swift returns to US court after appeal over copyright lawsuit
Billy Vunipola tells South Africa to ‘bring it on’ in Rugby World Cup final
Slow-starting Steelers rally from two scores down to keep Dolphins winless
Football transfer rumours: Sociedad's Oyarzabal to Manchester City?
Late night hosts aren't scandalized by Trump getting booed and heckled at the World Series
What I Learned From Playing A Brutal Fat-Shamer On TV
Damning Grenfell Tower Report Finds 'Systemic' Fire Brigade Failures Cost Lives
Shark Bites Off British Man's Foot In Australia
Pride Of Britain 2019: All The Red Carpet Looks
This Is The Group Of Young Women Behind The #FCKBORIS Posters That Have Appeared On The Tube
Donations to NRA PAC Surge after Dems Contemplate Gun Confiscation