Difference Between Aleve and Advil

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: May 11, 2023

       

Difference Between Aleve and Advil

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Introduction

Aleve and Advil are pain medicines. They are over-the-counter medicines and do not need a doctor’s prescription for purchase. They act by inhibiting the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. These enzymes are responsible for causing inflammation in the body. By reducing their levels Aleve and Advil provides relief from pain and minor aches, and reduce fever and inflammation.

Both medicines are equally effective in alleviating pain such as Headaches, backaches, toothaches, sprains, muscle aches, menstrual cramps, minor arthritis pain and pain related to the common cold.

Like all medicines, Aleve and Advil also have side effects. Some of the side effects are upset stomach, reflux, increased blood pressure, heartburn, fluid retention, etc. Neither of these medicines should be consumed if you are suffering from kidney problems. To reduce the negative effects on the digestive system, one should consume Aleve and Advil with food.

Aleve vs. Advil

Aleve and Advil are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They work to alleviate pain and provide relief. They have similar chemical structures and are both propionic acids. Advil and Aleve differ in their duration of action, dosage, side effects, and intended use. Aleve is the brand name given to naproxen. It received FDA approval in 1991. The main ingredient in Aleve is naproxen; 220 mg in a single dosage. Aleve's effects last up to 12 hours. Although if pain continues a person can take an extra Aleve in the first hour. It is available in different forms like tablets, liquid gels, caplets, and gel caps. Aleve can cause digestive tract distress. However, compared to all other NSAIDs, Aleve is better suited for patients vulnerable to cardiac events. It is also better for treating chronic conditions.

Advil is the brand name given to ibuprofen. The painkiller received FDA approval in the year 1971. The main ingredient is ibuprofen (200 mg in a single dose). Advil’s effects last only up to 4 to 6 hours. However, they are faster than Aleve. If there is no relief after the first dose, you can consume another. Advil is available in different forms such as capsules, tablets, gelcaps, chewable tablets, suspensions and oral drops. Advil is the superior option for a painkiller in patients with ulcers or acid refluxes. It is suited for treating acute pain. Advil is also the better NSAID option for children.

Difference Between Aleve and Advil in Tabular Form

  • Aleve is the brand name given to Naproxen. Advil is the brand name given to ibuprofen.
  • The active ingredients in Aleve are naproxen and sodium, while the active ingredients in Advil are ibuprofen and sodium.
  • An Aleve lasts up to 12 hours, while an Advil only lasts up to 4 to 6 hours.
  • Aleve presents a low risk for cardiovascular problems compared to Advil.
  • Advil presents a low risk for digestive tract problems compared to Aleve.
  • Aleve received FDA approval in the year 1991, while Advil received FDA approval in the year 1974.
Parameters of ComparisonAleveAdvil
Main ingredientNaproxen Sodium (220 mg)Ibuprofen (200 mg)
Acting timeLonger-acting. Lasts up to 12 hoursShorter acting. The effect lasts for 4 to 6 hours.
Different formsIt is available as tablets, liquid gels, caplets, and gel caps.It is available as capsules, tablets, gelcaps, chewable tablets, suspensions and oral drops.
Side effectsDigestive tract distress, photosensitivityDizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal bleeding
BenefitsPain relief, fever reduction, anti-clotting effectsPain relief, fever reduction, anti-clotting effects
FDA approval19911974

What is Aleve?

Aleve is a pain relief medicine. It is the brand name for naproxen.  If are experiencing pain symptoms, you can take an Aleve for relief. Aleve is available Over-the-counter, so you can buy them from the local pharmacy. Its main function is to reduce the COX-2 enzyme. Inhibiting COX-2 levels results in pain relief. In addition, Aleve also inhibits the COX-1 enzyme, which can lead to digestive tract distress. Aleve can be consumed if you are suffering from fever, pain, headache, rheumatoid arthritis, sunburns, menstrual cramps, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, ankylosing, spondylitis, arthrosis, etc.

Active Ingredient of Aleve

The main ingredient in Aleve is naproxen. The painkiller also contains sodium. When the medicine contains 200 mg of naproxen, the sodium level is 20 mg.

Dosage of Aleve

If symptoms of pain occur, the medicine needs to be taken every eight to twelve hours. Two tablets of Aleve can be consumed within the first hour. After that, the next tablet should be taken only after 12 hours. The fourth tablet, if necessary, should be taken only after 24 hours. The minimum dose of Aleve is 220 mg and the maximum dose available is 880 mg.

Difference between over-the-counter Aleve and prescription Aleve

The Aleve tablets you can purchase from local medical stores have a dosage of 220 mg. Two to three doses can be taken in a day. Naproxen has a different version, which is available through prescription only. This prescription naproxen has a dosage of 500 mg. Only two of these tablets should be taken in a day. The liquid version of naproxen is also available through prescription.

Side effects of Aleve

  1. Digestive: Aleve causes digestive distress. The COX-1 inhibiting effect of Aleve can cause digestive tract distress because it is longer acting. To lower gastrointestinal disturbances, it is recommended to consume Aleve only at the lowest dose available.
  2. Cardiovascular: Out of all NSAIDs, Aleve has the lowest risk for cardiovascular problems. Therefore, patients vulnerable to cardiac events should choose Aleve over other painkillers.
  3. Photosensitivity: Consuming Aleve can cause photosensitivity and pseudoporphyria, especially in patients with chronic renal failure.

Precautions to be taken when consuming Aleve

  • Aleve should be taken with food or milk.
  • Should not be taken by people suffering from gastrointestinal distress or kidney abnormalities. They should be avoided by people taking medications that affect kidney function.
  • Should not be consumed 72 hours before getting surgery.
  • Should not be given to children below 2 years of age.

What is Advil?

Just like Aleve, Advil is also an over-the-counter pain relief medicine. It is the brand name for ibuprofen. It inhibits the levels of COX-2 and COX-1. Advil can be taken if you are suffering from muscle pain, headaches, arthritis, gout, menstrual pain, rheumatoid disorders, arteriosus in premature infants, etc.

Active Ingredient of Advil

The main ingredient of Advil is ibuprofen. In addition, it contains sodium. The sodium presence makes the painkiller more water-soluble.

Dosage of Advil

Advil takes effect faster than Aleve, but it is a shorter-acting medicine. For adults and children over 12 years of age, a tablet can be taken every four to six hours. If you feel no relief, another tablet can be taken. However, one should not take more than six Advil within twenty-four hours. The minimum dose available for Advil is 220 mg and the maximum dose is 1200 mg.

Difference between over-the-counter Advil and prescription Advil (ibuprofen)

The Over-the-counter (OTC) ibuprofen comes in 100 mg and 200 mg doses. 1 to 2 tablets of the OTC version of ibuprofen can be taken every 4 to 6 hours. Maximum dose of OTC ibuprofen that can be taken is 1200 mg per day.

Just like naproxen, ibuprofen (Advil) also has a prescription variation. The prescription ibuprofen has strengths of 400 mg, 600 mg, and 800 mg. For this version, only one tablet should be taken every 4 to 6 hours. The maximum dose of prescription ibuprofen that can be taken in a day is 3200 mg.

Side effects of Advil

  1. Digestive: Out of all NSAIDs, Advil causes the least digestive problems. This makes Advil the optimal painkiller for people who suffer from acid reflux or ulcer.
  2. Cardiovascular: Advil presents a risk for cardiovascular problems. It is not recommended for people who are prone to cardiac events.
  3. Photosensitivity: Advil can cause photosensitivity in people who consume it.

Overdose of Advil

There is no specific amount of Advil which can be used to establish its overdose. In case of overdosing, the person will experience the following symptoms within four hours,

HeadachesNausea
VomitingAbdominal pain
Bright red or dark blood in the faecesRapid heartbeat
Rapid breathingShortness of breath
Chest pain or pressureSwelling in the legs or ankles
TirednessWeakness
ConfusionComa

Precautions to be taken when consuming Advil

  • Advil should be taken with food or milk.
  • Should not be given to a child if he/she is dehydrated, vomiting, or not eating enough food.
  • Should not be taken by people suffering from gastrointestinal distress or kidney abnormalities. They should be avoided by people taking medications that affect kidney function.
  • Should not be consumed 72 hours before getting surgery.
  • Should not be given to children below six months of age.

Choosing between Aleve and Advil

  1. If you are a person with ulcers or any type of digestive distress, choose Advil over Aleve.
  2. If you are a person prone to cardiac events or had heart surgeries, pick Aleve over Advil.
  3. If you are looking to treat acute pain, Advil is better suited than Aleve.
  4. If you are dealing with chronic pain Aleve is better than Advil.
  5. If you are giving painkillers to a child, Advil is the better option over Aleve.
  6. If you are a person who frequently uses sun-tanning beds, Advil is the superior option.

When not to take Aleve and Advil

Aleve and Advil should not be consumed by people suffering from underlying medical conditions. Painkillers should not be consumed by the following groups,

  1. Pregnant women, especially when in their third trimester
  2. People who are sensitive to salicylates or NSAIDs.
  3. Individuals who had a coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
  4. People who experienced allergic reactions after consuming NSAIDs

Can Advil and Aleve be taken together?

When you are experiencing extreme pain, you might be tempted to take both of these painkillers. However, these two drugs should not be taken together. On one hand, taking both Aleve and Advil together does not reduce the pain any faster. On the other hand, it only increases your risk of side effects.

If they are consumed together they can lead to increased side effects and adverse effects like decreased kidney function, stomach and intestinal bleeding, decreased blood clotting ability, etc. For safety reasons, the medicines should be consumed separately. Further, they should be taken only if necessary and starting with the lowest dose.

Guidelines for consuming NSAIDs

  1. If you have the option to choose between NSAIDs and paracetamol, paracetamol is the better option.
  2. When consuming NSAIDs, it is recommended to use the lowest dose available.
  3. When giving NSAIDs to children ibuprofen is preferred.
  4. Naproxen (Aleve) should be taken only up to 1000 mg per day. Ibuprofen (Advil) should be taken only up to 1200 mg per day.
  5. Longer-acting NSAIDs cause gastrointestinal distress, so these should be avoided when possible.
  6. When consuming one type of NSAID (for example, Aleve), one should not take any other NSAIDs
  7. A doctor’s opinion should be sought for continued use of NSAIDs.
  8.  If the person has any type of cardiovascular issues (suffered heart attacks or strokes), NSAIDs should be consumed only under a doctor’s supervision.
  9. Older patients and people with type-2 diabetes should avoid consuming NSAIDs. These groups are vulnerable to NSAID side effects like cardiovascular events, kidney problems, and gastrointestinal effects.
  10. Patients with bleeding problems should not consume NSAIDs, as they can reduce the blood's ability to clot. NSAIDs should be avoided by people who have low platelet counts or have bleeding disorders like haemophilia. People taking blood-thinning drugs should not consume NSAIDs.

Main Differences between Aleve and Advil (in Points)

  • Aleve is the brand name given to Naproxen. Advil is the brand name given to ibuprofen.
  • The active ingredients in Aleve are naproxen and sodium, while the active ingredients in Advil are ibuprofen and sodium.
  • An Aleve lasts up to 12 hours, while an Advil only lasts up to 4 to 6 hours.
  • Aleve presents a low risk for cardiovascular problems compared to Advil.
  • Advil presents a low risk for digestive tract problems compared to Aleve.
  • Aleve received FDA approval in the year 1991, while Advil received FDA approval in the year 1974.

Conclusion

In short, Aleve and Advil are NSAID drugs. They are painkillers that can help treat pain and inflammation. They also help to lower the body temperature to reduce fever. They vary in their duration. Advil acts fast but lasts only up to 4 to 6 hours. Aleve, on the other hand, lasts up to 12 hours. It is better suited to treat chronic pain conditions. If you are a person with digestive distress, it is better to keep off Aleve and use Advil as a painkiller. Advil is also the better option for children and for treating acute pain.

References

  • https://www.verywellhealth.com/advil-and-aleve-whats-the-difference-2552183
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/advil-and-aleve#when-to-see-a-doctor
  • https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/aleve-advil-difference-3122144/
  • https://www.hss.edu/pediatrics-difference-between-tylenol-advil-aleve.asp
  • https://www.goodrx.com/classes/nsaids/naproxen-vs-ibuprofen-which-is-better-nsaid-pain-reliever
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/pain-management/advil-and-aleve

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"Difference Between Aleve and Advil." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sat. 02 Mar. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-aleve-and-advil>.



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