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KNEE

Are Tylenol and Ibuprofen the Same?

Dr. Cory Calendine, MD, discusses the basic differences and some of the risks to consider when taking Tylenol (acetaminophen) and/or ibuprofen for arthritis pain.

Ibuprofen for Arthritis Pain

For safe and effective use of this medicine, do not take more of it, or take it more often, or for a longer time than ordered by your doctor. Taking too much ibuprofen may increase the chance of dangerous effects, especially in elderly patients .

When used for severe or continuing arthritis, this medicine should be taken regularly as ordered by your doctor in order for it to help you. This medicine usually shows effectiveness within a week, but in severe cases it may take longer to begin to feel better. In some cases, several weeks may pass before full medication benefit is seen.

Recommended Ibuprofen Dosage

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day,the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

For osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis:

Adults and teenagers—1200 milligrams (mg) up to 3200 mg per day divided into three or four equal doses.

Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The dose usually is 30 milligrams (mg) to 40 mg perkilogram (kg) of body weight per day, divided into three or four doses.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol, brand name)

Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, more often, or take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. Liver damage and other side effects can occur when large amounts of acetaminophen are taken for an extended period of time. If you are taking this medicine without the advice of your physician, carefully read the warning label and follow the dosing instructions.

Many additional over-the-counter combination medications also include acetaminophen. It is not safe to use more than 4,000 milligrams of acetaminophen each day(24 hour period). For Tylenol® Extra Strength, the maximum dose is 3,000 milligrams per 24 hours.

Recommended Acetaminophen Dosage

The optimal dose of acetaminophen will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If you are prescribed or recommended a different dose, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount, number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depends on the strength of the medication (there are numerous variations on the market) and the medical problem that you are using the medicine for.

For pain or fever: [For oral and rectal dosage forms (capsules, granules, powders, solution, suppositories, suspension, or tablets]:

Adults and teenagers—650 to 1000 milligrams (mg) every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Dose is based on form and strength. Carefully follow the label instructions for the maximum dose per day.

Children—Dose is based on weight or age. Carefully follow the label instructions for the maximum dose per day.

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Cory Calendine, MD is an Orthopaedic Surgeon and founding partner of the Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee at Williamson County Hospital in Franklin, TN. Dr. Calendine is an expert in Joint Replacement, specializing in Hip and Knee Surgery. From diagnosis through treatment, the Orthopaedic Surgical experts at the Bone and Joint Institute use the latest techniques and technology to improve care for people with musculoskeletal problems. For more information, please contact our office or schedule your appointment today.  
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