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Difference Between Acetaminophen and Aspirin

Acetaminophen vs Aspirin

All throughout these years the most common analgesics that people might have heard of are aspirin and acetaminophen. Both of these drugs have been in use for a long time for pain relief, body aches, or inflammations. These drugs were once known for their ability to block pain transmissions to the brain or even inhibit prostaglandin production, thereby making one feel that the pain has been reduced or even relieved.

Both acetaminophen and aspirin are considered as Non-Steroidal, Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). These are a group of drugs that have no steroid compounds but still have a property to reduce inflammation. Furthermore, they have the major property to prevent pain stimuli, which are responsible for pain sensations to the brain, thus giving relief. Still, one needs to be aware of the differences between the two and how they could affect the body.

The first major difference between aspirin and acetaminophen is how they handle pain. Acetaminophen, which is considered as an analgesic may only work on the pain receptors and not on other things such as inflammation. This is why it is not that effective for any forms of inflammation. On the other hand, aspirin is said to reduce the amount of prostaglandins, which causes pain and inflammation, to the affected area. Not only does aspirin relieve one of his pain but it also controls swelling from any injured area.

Nowadays, doctors have found out that aspirin may have adverse side-effects when taken in moderation for pain relief. The most significant among them is its high probability to cause stomach ulcers. Prolonged use of aspirin can thin and irritate the stomach linings, and in time, the protective layer that prevents gastric juices from corroding the stomach cells will not be able to handle constant thinning, leading to ulcer formations. Because of this, acetaminophen is the better choice. Acetaminophen causes mild gastro-intestinal effects, which makes it preferable to take in even in an empty stomach.

Still, many doctors have found out another important use of aspirin that is not present with acetaminophen, and that is its anti-clotting ability. Aspirin has the capability to prevent blood from clotting, making it thinner, and allowing it to flow freely. This is why aspirin has been widely used for people who have clots or are susceptible to heart attacks and those with heart conditions. Still, great care should be given to people who take aspirin because there is a risk of blood loss or bleeding, since aspirin prevents blood from clotting.


1. Aspirin acts on both inflammation and pain, while acetaminophen only relieves pain but does not reduce any swelling.
2. Acetaminophen can be taken in with food, while aspirin may cause gastric irritation and even bleeding.
3. Aspirin has now been widely used for its anti-clotting ability, usually for those individuals who are at risk for stroke.

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