Is it safe to take acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic) and ibuprofen (Advil and generic) at the same time? —P.F., Wilmington, Del.Yes, if you do it occasionally and stick to one pill of each—325 milligrams of acetaminophen and 200 mg of ibuprofen. The drugs relieve pain in different ways: acetaminophen blocks pain in the brain, while ibuprofen blocks pain and reduces inflammation. So taking one of each is probably safer than popping additional pills of either. But it’s best not to do it too often, and to use restraint when taking over-the-counter pain relievers in general. They all have risks when taken regularly or at higher doses than the label recommends. And taking two exposes you to a greater number of potential side effects. (Avoid acetaminophen if you have liver disease or drink alcohol heavily, since it can be toxic to the liver.)
Find out what you should know before taking acetaminophen and ibuprofen and watch our video (above) on the risks of overusing OTC pain relievers.