The Differences Between Aleve and Tylenol


When you have a backache or a headache, you might automatically go to your medicine cabinet for either Aleve or Tylenol. Both work in slightly different ways and can benefit you in different ways. If you understand the difference, you can choose the right one for you for the right symptoms.

General Comparison of Aleve and Tylenol

Aleve, also known by its generic naproxen, classifies as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug as well as a non-narcotic analgesic. You may find it in your local pharmacy as either a liquid gel, gelcap, or tablet. This medication is available in both regular and extra strength.

This medication is a drug that may reduce joint in addition to other types of aches and pains. If you have a mild fever, Aleve may lower it as well.

As a general rule, you can take one to two Aleve every eight to 12 hours. Make sure you read the label for dosing instructions and consult with your physician before using Aleve since it’s not safe for everyone.

Tylenol is also a pain reliever and fever reducer. It’s the brand name of acetaminophen. It classifies as a non-narcotic pain reliever like Aleve does; however, it doesn’t reduce inflammation like Aleve. Tylenol is more for pain that isn’t associated with swelling and inflammation.

This drug is given every four to six hours, and you should exceed two capsules or tablets, but you should read the instructions carefully since some varieties may have different dosing instructions. You also want to consult your physician to make sure Tylenol is safe for you.

Comparison of the Mechanisms of Action

To compare Aleve and Tylenol, you should understand that their mechanisms of action are different.

The mechanism behind Tylenol isn’t well understood by researchers. Currently, they believe that this drug changes how your body senses pain.

Aleve works by prohibiting your body from producing prostaglandin, which is a substance in your body that causes fever and inflammation because it encourages the release of certain types of chemical signals in your body.

Safety Comparison 

Generally, Tylenol is safe when taken as recommended. However, this medication can cause serious liver damage and even death when taken in excess. Naproxen is generally safe, too. When this drug is taken in excess, you may experience confusion, seizures, or even death. When comparing Aleve and Tylenol, you should know that both can cause liver and kidney damage when taken for prolonged periods, especially at high amounts.

Tylenol is relatively safe for younger children when given at the appropriate dosages. However, Aleve isn’t recommended for children under the age of 12 unless recommended by a pediatrician.

Tylenol and Aleve are both relatively safe unless you take them in excess. They treat similar issues, such as aches, pains, and fever, but one is more effective if you have swelling. To take either one, you should always consult with a physician first.