Non-opioid analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, ketoprofen, acetylsalicylic acid, naproxen, flurbiprofen, or diclofenac are the most commonly used analgesics. When we are sick or in a lot of pain, we tend to take a lot of drugs and mix different preparations available on the market. However, in most cases, our knowledge of this subject is minimal, and we make decisions about painkiller selection without consulting a pharmacist, which can have serious health consequences.
Paracetamol and ibuprofen : can they be used together?
Non-narcotic (non-opioid) analgesics are commonly used to treat pain without the risk of addiction. Aniline derivatives (e.g., paracetamol) and metamizole (pyrazolone derivative) are examples, as are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).
It is worth noting that the two most commonly used substances in pain relievers, paracetamol and ibuprofen, act in slightly different ways.
Paracetamol inhibits the activity of a brain enzyme (cyclooxygenase 3, COX-3) and thus prevents pain impulses from reaching the brain. As a result, he is unaware that something is causing us harm. If the pain is caused by inflammation (for example, during a bacterial infection), the ailment may return after taking paracetamol because the underlying cause has not been addressed.
Ibuprofen, on the other hand, has a peripheral effect, which means it acts on the "focus" of pain, removing its potential cause, inflammation. Ibuprofen's additional function is critical because inflammation and infection are frequently the causes of pain and fever.
In addition, ibuprofen works faster (after 15 minutes) and longer (up to 8 hours) than paracetamol (4-6 hours). Knowing these differences is crucial, especially when taking several preparations at the same time.
What painkillers cannot be combined?
Not all pain relievers can be mixed together freely. One of the most important rules is to avoid combining preparations from the same class, such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), as this may exacerbate the adverse effect on the digestive system.
As a result, you should avoid taking ibuprofen and acetylsalicylic acid, ketoprofen, or naproxen at the same time. So, if we take ibuprofen, we can also take paracetamol, which is in a different class of medication.
We should also be careful when combining painkillers with cold remedies . They often contain the same active ingredient, which may increase the risk of overdose and side effects.