Differences between Paracetamol and Ibuprofen

It can be said that both paracetamol and ibuprofen are two of the most widely used painkillers in the world. This is because both are very effective medications for lowering fever and relieving pain. However, their formulas and components are different.

That said, their specific applications differ from each other, so in this article we will present the differences between paracetamol and ibuprofen, based on their specifications and indications.


Basically, paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, is a medicine used to relieve pain and reduce fever, since it has antipyretic and analgesic properties. In addition, it is a pure analgesic drug that does not have an anti-inflammatory effect and that once administered acts on the central nervous system, specifically at the level of pain centers, blocking the pain signal.

Additionally, paracetamol is specifically indicated for the pharmacological treatment of pain and fever, but not for various pathologies, which is why it is very common for the treatment of discomfort associated with the flu and to treat injuries that are not accompanied by inflammation.

It is worth noting that paracetamol has fewer gastrointestinal side effects than other medications, although its excessive consumption can be harmful to the liver. For this reason, it is advisable to take the dose recommended by the treating physician, especially in children. Finally, paracetamol comes in various presentations: suspension or syrup, capsules, pills, tablets and suppositories.


Ibuprofen is a medicine used to relieve pain, lower fever and reduce inflammation, since it has analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties. Ibuprofen belongs to the group of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which are characterized in that their action is focused on inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandins, which are the substances responsible for the inflammatory response and pain.

Thus, ibuprofen is indicated for the pharmacological treatment of pain accompanied by inflammation and fever. Therefore, it is highly recommended to treat injuries where inflammation is present. Despite this, due to its mechanism of action it has a potentially gastro-lesive effect, that is, it can damage the protective barrier of the stomach, for which reason its administration is not recommended in patients with poor eating habits or in patients with vomiting.

Finally, ibuprofen comes in different presentations: tablets, pills, capsules, syrup or suspension and must be administered under strict medical recommendation due to its side effects, which can be aggravated if the prescribed dose is exceeded.

In relation to what has been described, the differences between paracetamol and ibuprofen can be summarized as:

  • Paracetamol blocks pain and reduces fever but has no anti-inflammatory effect, while ibuprofen reduces pain and high fever in addition to having anti-inflammatory action.
  • Paracetamol is indicated for the therapeutic treatment of pain not accompanied by inflammation, while ibuprofen is indicated for the therapeutic treatment of pain accompanied by inflammation.
  • Paracetamol does not take effect until about 45 minutes after administration, while ibuprofen takes effect 30 minutes after administration.
  • Paracetamol has action for up to four hours while ibuprofen prolongs its action up to approximately six hours.

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