How Do I Choose the Best Alternative to Ibuprofen?

Aspirin is commonly used as an alternative to ibuprofen.
Naproxen is an NSAID also used to reduce fever and alleviate pain.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2014
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Ibuprofen is a commonly used pain, fever, and inflammation reducer. There are, however, a variety of alternative medications you can use for the same purposes. Among the most common are acetaminophen, naproxen, and aspirin. While any of these medications can provide effective pain relief, you can choose the best option based on the intensity of your pain, the presence of inflammation, and the cause of your discomfort. Additionally, you may do well to seek a doctor's advice when choosing the best medication.

Acetaminophen is a commonly used alternative to ibuprofen. Like ibuprofen, acetaminophen helps reduce pain and lower a person's temperature if he has a fever. Acetaminophen, however, is not effective for inflammation reduction, so it is unlikely to prove the best choice if you're experiencing swelling. This medication is available over the counter in pill, chewable, and liquid form, and may prove to be a good choice for mild-to-moderate discomfort.

Naproxen is another common alternative to ibuprofen. This drug, which is available over the counter and in prescription form, is typically used for treating pain and inflammation. It is particularly effective for the treatment of pain caused by arthritis, other types of joint conditions, and gout. Some people also use it for the relief of menstruation-related pain. Naproxen can also be used to treat a fever.


You may also use aspirin as an alternative to ibuprofen. This over-the-counter medication is frequently used to treat minor aches and pains, and is also helpful for reducing fever and inflammation. Though it is a commonly used drug, it is usually not recommended for children. The use of aspirin in children has been associated with the risk of Reye's syndrome, a potentially deadly disease that affects the internal organs, including the brain and the liver.

Before you choose an alternative to ibuprofen, you may do well to seek advice from a doctor or other medical professional you trust. A doctor can provide information about the medication that is most likely to prove effective for your particular condition and inform you of any side effects you may experience. Additionally, a medical professional who knows your health history can tell you whether a particular pain killer will adversely react with other drugs you take.

If you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding a baby, it can prove particularly important to seek a doctor's advice for an alternative to ibuprofen. Some medications, even those that are available over the counter, have the potential to harm you or your baby. A doctor or other medical professional can help you evaluate the risks and decide which medication you should take.


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