Is It Safe to Take Tylenol With Advil or Motrin (Ibuprofen)?

Understanding Tylenol and Advil/Motrin

Before diving into whether it’s safe to take Tylenol (acetaminophen) with Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen), let’s understand what these medications are.

Tylenol (Acetaminophen)

  • Purpose: Mainly used to reduce fever and relieve pain.
  • How it Works: Acts on the brain to lower the temperature and reduce pain. It doesn’t have much anti-inflammatory action.
  • Common Uses: For headaches, minor aches, and pains, and as a fever reducer.

Advil/Motrin (Ibuprofen)

  • Purpose: Used for pain relief, reducing inflammation, and lowering fever.
  • How it Works: Belongs to a class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It blocks certain substances in your body that cause inflammation.
  • Common Uses: For conditions like arthritis, muscle aches, menstrual cramps, and mild to moderate pain.

Combining Tylenol and Ibuprofen

Can You Take Them Together?

  • Short Answer: Yes, you can, but with caution.
  • Why It’s Generally Safe: They work in different ways and affect different parts of the body. Tylenol is processed by the liver, while ibuprofen is processed by the kidneys.

How to Safely Combine Them

  • Stagger the Doses: Instead of taking them at the same time, you might take Tylenol and then take ibuprofen three to four hours later.
  • Follow Dosage Recommendations: Always stick to the recommended dosages on the labels or as prescribed by your doctor.

Reasons to Combine

  • Enhanced Pain Relief: For some types of pain, combining these medications can provide better relief than taking one alone.
  • Reducing Fever: This is especially useful in cases where fever is not sufficiently controlled by one medication alone.

Precautions and Considerations

  • Medical Conditions: If you have liver or kidney issues, discuss these issues with your doctor before taking these medications together.
  • Long-Term Use: Regular, long-term use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen can lead to gastrointestinal problems or kidney damage. Similarly, high doses of acetaminophen can affect the liver.
  • Check with a Healthcare Professional: If you’re unsure or have other underlying health conditions, it’s always wise to ask a healthcare provider.


Taking Tylenol and Advil or Motrin together is generally safe for short-term use in appropriate doses, but always keep an eye on any potential side effects and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or pre-existing conditions.

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