Written by Divinity Nutra, Updated on March 13, 2023

Is Advil an NSAID

Advil is a popular over-the-counter medication used for pain relief and fever reduction. But, is Advil an NSAID, and can it reduce inflammation and swelling?

In this article, we will explore the mechanism of action of Advil, its uses, potential side effects, and safety precautions to help you understand how it works and how to use it safely.

What is an NSAID?

NSAID stands for a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It is a type of medication commonly used to relieve pain, reduce fever, and decrease inflammation in the body.

NSAIDs work by blocking the production of certain enzymes called COX-1 and COX-2, which are involved in the production of prostaglandin, one of the major causes of inflammation. By blocking these enzymes, NSAIDs can reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.

Is Advil an NSAID?

Yes, Advil (ibuprofen) is an NSAID. Therefore, it inhibits the activity of both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, which promote inflammation and pain.

What is the generic name for Advil? Ibuprofen

How Does Advil Work?

It works like other NSAIDs, but with a slight difference. To understand it better, let’s discuss the two types of COX enzymes: COX-1 and COX-2.

  • COX-1 is involved in the production of prostaglandins that help protect the stomach lining and maintain kidney function.
  • COX-2 is primarily involved in the production of prostaglandins that cause pain and inflammation in response to injury or illness.

Advil blocks both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, but it blocks COX-2 more effectively. For this reason, it may be more likely to lead to cardiovascular side effects compared to other NSAIDs, like aspirin.

Common Uses for Advil

There are many uses for Advil, but here are its most common use cases:

  • Pain relief: Advil is often used to relieve mild to moderate pain, including headaches, menstrual cramps, toothaches, and muscle aches.
  • Fever reduction: Advil can help reduce fever, which is common with illnesses like the flu or a cold.
  • Inflammation reduction: Advil can help reduce swelling and inflammation, which is often associated with conditions like arthritis or other types of joint pain.
  • Pain and inflammation associated with injuries: Advil can also be used to reduce pain and inflammation associated with injuries such as sprains and strains.

Advil Side Effects

Common side effects of Advil (ibuprofen) include:

  • Upset stomach and indigestion: Ibuprofen can cause irritation and inflammation in the stomach lining, leading to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
  • Heartburn and acid reflux: Ibuprofen can increase the production of stomach acid, which can lead to heartburn and acid reflux.
  • Stomach ulcers: Long-term use of ibuprofen can cause ulcers in the stomach lining.
  • Allergic reactions: Rarely, ibuprofen can cause allergic reactions such as hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing.
  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke: Ibuprofen may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, especially with long-term use or in people who already have a high risk for these conditions.
  • Kidney problems: Ibuprofen can cause kidney damage, particularly in people with preexisting kidney disease or in those who take high doses for a prolonged period.
  • Liver damage: High doses of ibuprofen can cause liver damage. People with preexisting liver disease will be more prone to this side effect.
  • Bleeding and bruising: Ibuprofen can interfere with blood clotting, which can increase the risk of bleeding and bruising.

It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list of adverse reactions. If you experience any unusual symptoms while taking Advil, it’s important to speak with your doctor.

Safety Precautions for Advil

To use Advil safely, follow the instructions on the label and take it only as directed. Some safety precautions to keep in mind include:

  • Do not exceed the recommended dosage: Taking too much Advil can increase the risk of side effects, including serious ones like stomach bleeding.
  • Talk to your doctor before taking Advil: If you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking other medications, it’s important to discuss with your doctor whether it’s safe to take Advil.
  • Avoid using Advil long-term: Using Advil for extended periods can increase the risk of side effects, such as gastrointestinal problems, kidney damage, and heart attack or stroke.
  • Take Advil with food or milk: This can help to reduce the risk of stomach upset and other gastrointestinal side effects.
  • Avoid using Advil with alcohol: Drinking alcohol while taking Advil can increase the risk of stomach bleeding and liver damage.
  • Store Advil safely: Keep Advil out of the reach of children and pets, and store it in a cool, dry place.

Advil vs Acetaminophen

Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are both common over-the-counter pain relievers, but they differ in their mechanism of action and potential side effects.

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by inhibiting both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes.

Acetaminophen works differently by blocking the production of prostaglandins in the brain and spinal cord, which reduces pain and fever but does not have an anti-inflammatory effect like NSAIDs. In other words, popular brands of acetaminophen, like Tylenol, are just meant to block pain signals.

OTC Alternatives to Advil

When it comes to pain relief, many over-the-counter alternatives to Advil can be effective in reducing discomfort. One option is to use acetaminophen. Alternatively, other types of NSAIDs may be effective in reducing both pain and inflammation.

Acetaminophen Brands

To reiterate once more, acetaminophen is primarily used for pain relief and is not effective in reducing inflammation. However, it can still be a helpful option for those who only seek pain relief. Here are some of the top brands you can use:

  • Tylenol
  • Excedrin (also contains Aspirin)
  • Midol
  • Panadol
  • Mapap
  • Actamin
  • Ofirmev
  • Valorin
  • Q-Pap
  • Lemsip
  • FeverAll

NSAID Brands

If you no longer want to use Advil, you can try another brand of ibuprofen, or you can try any of the other two types of NSAIDs: aspirin or naproxen. Here are the top brands to consider.

  • Ibuprofen: Motrin, Nuprin
  • Aspirin: Bayer, Bufferin, Excedrin, Ecotrin, Anacin
  • Naproxen: Aleve, Naprosyn, Anaprox, Mediproxen

How to Reduce Inflammation Naturally

If you want to reduce chronic inflammation long-term, it’s important to implement a variety of natural inflammation remedies. The strategies below have proven themselves to be effective at doing just that.

  • Eliminating inflammatory foods: Certain foods, such as processed foods, refined sugars, and trans fats, can promote inflammation in the body. Eliminating these inflammatory foods from your diet can help improve overall health.
  • Eating more anti-inflammatory foods: There are many foods that reduce inflammation in the body, such as leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts, and berries. Incorporate more of these into your diet.
  • Making lifestyle modifications: Making changes such as practicing stress-reduction techniques, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular physical activity can help to reduce inflammation.
  • Taking dietary supplements: Certain herbs and spices have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, such as black pepper, turmeric, and ginger. Add them to food or take them as a supplement.

It can be challenging to figure out which supplements work for natural pain relief and which don’t. Below, we’ve provided a short list of three anti-inflammatory supplements that have stood the test of time and proven to be effective for inflammation and pain relief.

Turmeric contains a bioactive compound called curcumin, which has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects. Curcumin also has antioxidant properties that can help to protect cells from damage and further reduce inflammation.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) also provides anti-inflammatory effects due to its high acetic acid content. Acetic acid has been shown to reduce the activity of certain enzymes and proteins involved in the inflammatory response.

Elderberry has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties due to its high content of flavonoids and other compounds. These compounds can reduce the production of inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.

Advil and NSAIDs: Final Thoughts

Is Advil an anti-inflammatory? The answer is yes. Advil (ibuprofen) is a widely used NSAID that is effective in reducing pain, inflammation, and fever. It works by inhibiting the activity of COX enzymes, which play a crucial role in the production of prostaglandins that contribute to pain and inflammation.

While it can provide relief for a variety of conditions, it’s important to use Advil safely by following the recommended dosage and consulting with a healthcare provider if necessary. As with any medication, there may be potential side effects, so be sure to weigh the benefits and risks before using Advil or any other NSAID for pain relief.