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Can Acetaminophen and NSAIDs Be Taken Together?

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Updated October 04, 2009

Question: Can Acetaminophen and NSAIDs Be Taken Together?
Arthritis patients, in an attempt to relieve pain and other symptoms, often take NSAIDs and over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen. Is it appropriate to take acetaminophen and NSAIDs together? Does taking acetaminophen and NSAIDs together increase the risk of side effects?
Answer:

The short answer is yes -- it's appropriate to take an NSAID and acetaminophen together. With chronic use, NSAIDS can damage the kidneys and cause gastrointestinal bleeding. Excessive use of acetaminophen, on the other hand, is metabolized in the liver. Prolonged or chronic use of acetaminophen can result in liver failure.

So, while the drugs are not without risks, they are considered safe and effective when taken according to directions and as prescribed by your doctor. NSAIDs reduce inflammation. Acetaminophen is taken as a pain reliever.

When Is the Combination a Bad Idea?

If you have renal (kidney) or hepatic (liver) disease, you should ask your doctor about taking acetaminophen and NSAIDs together.

It's typically best practice to take the lowest dose of a drug that garners a therapeutic effect. By taking the lowest dose, you reduce risk of unwanted side effects.

10 Things You Should Know About Tylenol / Acetaminophen
Safe use of Tylenol (acetaminophen) decreases the risk of undesirable side effects. Safety warnings about Tylenol should be respected.

NSAIDs - 10 Things You Need to Know
NSAIDs have been used to treat arthritis for more than 30 years. NSAIDs have anti-inflammatory, analgesic (painkilling), and anti-pyretic (fever-reducing) properties.

Acetaminophen - Cumulative Effect Can Cause Acute Liver Failure
Though labels of products containing acetaminophen disclose how much of the ingredient is in the product, some people put themselves at risk by not keeping track of their total daily intake of acetaminophen.

What Is Extra Strength Tylenol?
Extra strength Tylenol is a popular over-the-counter medication used to relieve pain, including arthritis pain. How is extra strength Tylenol different from regular strength Tylenol or Tylenol Arthritis Pain?

What Is Tylenol Arthritis Pain?
Tylenol Arthritis Pain is a popular over-the-counter medication used to, as its name suggests, relieve arthritis pain. How is Tylenol Arthritis Pain different from regular strength Tylenol or extra strength Tylenol?

What Side Effects May Result From Long-Term Use / High Doses Of Acetaminophen?
What are the possible side effects and consequences from long-term use of acetaminophen? What are the safety issues when using high doses of acetaminophen?

Source:

Do acetaminophen and an NSAID combined relieve osteoarthritis pain better than either alone? Journal of Family Practice June 2004. Buescher JJ et al.
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0689/is_6_53/ai_n6121272/

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