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Difference Between Advil and Motrin

Advil vs Motrin

Over-the-counter drugs are very popular for many years now. These are drugs that have been legally approved to be sold to the public without any doctor’s prescription. Furthermore, these are different classes of medications that aim to combat common ailments and complaints. They do not need prescriptions because they are basically considered safe to use with minimal guidance and do not cause very serious side effects or complications if they are in use. Just like all drugs, these are never safe to be taken regularly in a prolonged period of time.

The most common among over-the-counter medications are the antipyretics and anti-inflammatory drugs, or collectively known as, NSAIDs (Non-steriodal Anti-inflammatory Drugs). These drugs are sold without prescription because they target the most common complaints of any individual which are pain and fever.

NSAIDs act on the impulses that cause prostaglandin release. Think of it this way, when we feel pain, the nerves affected send messages or impulses into our brain and then the brain sends back signals in the form of neurotransmitters. Prostaglandins are released automatically as a part of the pain response. These prostaglandins make us well aware of the pain that we feel. By taking NSAIDs, the chemicals in the drug stop the neurotransmitters from being activated and prevent us from feeling pain. Some drugs also reduce swelling as an additional effect. But another effect most sought after is its antipyretic property, which can help lower body temperature to ideal levels.

There are many kinds of NSAIDs out in the open. Some of them have similar characteristics while others have different effects. Among them, Advil and Motrin may have some subtle differences.

Although both Advil and Motrin are the brand names of Ibuprofen, which is a common NSAID, they do contain some differences regarding their therapeutic effects to the body. However, you have to take note that these drugs are quite similar in both therapeutic action and their nature.

Advil is considered as the first among the two brands of Ibuprofen to be developed. With this, it needs a longer time to produce a therapeutic effect. The time usually varies depending on the person taking in the drug, thus there is no fixed range of its therapeutic effect. Even though they are both the same, Advil has been noted to bring down fever a little faster, although data are still needed to verify this claim.

Motrin is the newer brand of Ibuprofen but has the same action as that of Advil. The key difference may well be the time it takes to produce a therapeutic effect, since Motrin acts faster.

You can consult a doctor about this since only basic details are provided here.


1. NSAIDs are OTC drugs that help relieve pain and regulate body temperature.

2. Advil was developed first, takes longer to cause an effect, and decreases fever faster.

3. Motrin is newer and causes faster therapeutic effects.

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  1. As a pharmacist this has got to be the most inaccurate trash I’ve ever seen. Both Motrin and Advil have gel capsule formulations so how can one suggest that Motrin is generally is faster acting than Advil?! They contain the same active ingredient- the exact same and the only difference would be between tablet and gel capsule forms or whatnot.

    • There is a difference in speed. Yes the active ingredient is the exact same in both tablet forms, but the other ingredients are different. Mainly Advil has a thick sugarcoating which takes longer to dissolve than the thin film coating on Motrin, so it will take slightly longer to work.

    • Completely agree with Dave, and I’m a UCLA doctor. Both are the same drug. This shouldn’t be a top hit when people search for the difference between these two drugs.

      • why does Advil claim to be fastest to relieve pain? I would assume since they are both exactly the same other than cosmetically, they couldn’t claim that without being sued by competitors.

      • I’m a PA and tell pts both are about the same but I’m getting responses of dirarrhea greater with Advil. Sugar coating??

  2. I like the name Advil Better. I just saw a commercial for motrin and it was a 30 something lady getting groceries out of a Wagon. So motrin is for girls i guess?

  3. For the children’s version, there is a difference in dosage between the two. Not sure wht. But, for the same weight and age range with the same 100mcg per 5ml, advil says to take 10ml and motrin says 7.5ml. Can anyone figure this one out?

  4. As with the argument about genetics that pharmacists stupidly refuse to accept, the drug may chemically be the same, but the delivery system is different. With Advil and Motrin, just as the myriad of generic versions are different from the original name brand, how the drug gets into the bloodstream or starts activating varies with each manufacturer. Thus there can be a legitimate concern about taking one over the other.

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