How Do I Choose the Best Alternative to Ibuprofen?

N. Madison

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.

Aspirin is commonly used as an alternative to ibuprofen.
Aspirin is commonly used as an alternative to ibuprofen.

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 an NSAID also used to reduce fever and alleviate pain.
Naproxen is an NSAID also used to reduce fever and alleviate pain.

Get started

Want to automatically save money while you shop online?

Join 3 million Wikibuy users who have found 
$70 million in savings over the last year.

Wikibuy compensates us when you install Wikibuy using the links we provided.

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.


You might also Like

Discussion Comments


@pastanaga - I've never really thought that much about it. If I've got a headache, I'll just take something for it. I don't usually take ibuprofen unless I've got inflammation though, because it's generally the more expensive painkiller, compared with some of the others available over the counter.


@pleonasm - I used to be very against taking medication unless it was absolutely necessary, but then I had a doctor tell me that sometimes we make ourselves worse because we're in pain. Reducing the pain, even without making a difference to other symptoms, can help you to relax and that can often help to make you feel better in general and heal faster.

It's still a good idea not to take medication like ibuprofen constantly, though, as I've been told it can be addictive in the sense that you might need to start taking larger and larger amounts for it to work if you get too used to it. But if you are at the point where you feel the need to take it that much you should be discussing the problem with your doctor anyway.


I prefer ibuprofen over most other generic painkillers because of the fact that it reduces inflammation. Usually if I'm having to take a painkiller in the first place, it's because I've injured myself and taking pain medication that doesn't reduce the swelling seems to just delay the pain rather than actually doing anything to stop it.

I don't particularly like taking medication if I don't have to and I feel like if it's only to stop the pain it's not worth it.

Post your comments
Forgot password?