Aleve vs Ibuprofen: Which One is Better?

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We all experience physical pain sometimes.

Fortunately, for most of us, that pain is mild and disappears in a short time.

In the meantime, many of us turn to over-the-counter medications to find relief.

Whether you suffer from pain due to muscle strain, headaches, back pain, an old injury, menstrual cramps, or some other ailment, you might take some medicine to feel better.

Two of the most popular types of over-the-counter pain medications are Aleve and ibuprofen. However, when it comes to Aleve vs ibuprofen, many people don’t know the difference between them.

If you’re interested in learning more about these two medications, read on. After completing this informative post, all your questions about the similarities and differences between Aleve and ibuprofen will be answered.

What Is Naproxen?

The first thing you should know is that Aleve is a brand name. The medication supplied and marketed by Aleve is naproxen. Naproxen takes a little while to start providing relief, but once it starts working, it is long-lasting. If you take naproxen, you’ll enjoy relief from your pain for many hours before you need to take another one.

What Is Ibuprofen?

Ibruprofen is marketed under a wide variety of brand names. Advil, Midol, and Motrin are all common and well-known brands of ibuprofen. In contrast to naproxen, ibuprofen offers very quick pain relief. However, the action of this medication fades quickly. If you wish to enjoy continued relief, you’ll need to take another pill or capsule after a few hours. 

Aleve vs Ibuprofen

Both Aleve and ibuprofen are NSAIDs – that is, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The goals of both of these medications are the same. They work to decrease inflammation, which in turn, reduces pain. These medications both work on a wide variety of ailments. They are most commonly taken for mild body pain and headaches. 

Many people prefer one of these options over the other but they can’t explain why. In many cases, it simply comes down to a preference for the one they have always taken for pain. However, if one has seemingly stopped working for you, you may wish to try the other one for a while to see if that helps. But, you should never mix naproxen and ibuprofen together unless directed to do so by a doctor.

When it comes to comparing Aleve vs ibuprofen, most users will find that they are quite similar. Although they include different ingredients and formulas, both options seem to attack and relieve aches and pains in joints and muscles with equal strength. For headaches, they both seem to be equally effective as well.

Long-Acting vs Short-Acting

When someone seeks pain relief, the length of the relief is also relevant, and when it comes to longevity, naproxen – or Aleve – is the clear winner. Although it may take a little longer for naproxen to begin providing relief than ibuprofen, once it does kick in, it will last far longer. 

Naproxen is a long-acting NSAID and ibuprofen is a short-acting NSAID. Naproxen stays active in a user’s system three to four times longer than ibuprofen.  You can continue to take ibuprofen every four to six hours over a twenty-four-hour period if you’d like, but you’d only have to take naproxen twice during the same time period. This can be very convenient for people who suffer from chronic pain or acute pain that sticks around.

Side Effects

Most people do not experience any negative side effects from naproxen or ibuprofen. As a result, many people believe that they can ingest these drugs daily as needed without any long-term issues. This belief is incorrect. If you take naproxen or ibuprofen on a very regular basis, you may develop side effects like high blood pressure, kidney or liver problems, headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, or allergic reactions.

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Furthermore, you may be more susceptible to these side effects if you take naproxen instead of ibuprofen. The reason for this is simple; because naproxen is long-acting, it stays in your system longer. As a result, it can cause more issues for your body over the long term.

Which Is Better?

Even after reading this post, you may still wonder which is better: naproxen or ibuprofen? 

There is no one correct answer to this question.

If you want fast pain relief, and don’t mind if it doesn’t last that long, then you should take ibuprofen.

If you’re willing to wait a bit longer for the relief to begin, but want it to last a long time, then you should take naproxen.

In both cases, you’ll want to avoid taking it too often, though, or you may suffer from side effects. Remember, the side effects may occur more rapidly with naproxen than with ibuprofen.

Although both of these medications are safe for children, with the side effects in mind, ibuprofen is probably the better choice for young people.

For adults, it’s really just a matter of taste and preference. Whichever medication works best for you is the right one for your body.

Try Both

Next time you experience pain, you can perform a little experiment. Again, you should never take naproxen and ibuprofen together unless your doctor advises you to do so. But, give the one you don’t usually use a try. You may find that after all these years, you actually prefer it. If it turns out that you don’t, you can always switch back to your usual choice next time you experience physical pain, cramps, or a headache.

Find the Pain Relief You Need

This should answer all your questions about Aleve vs ibuprofen. As you can see, both of these medications are quite similar and they work in similar ways. The differences between them are so slight that you can take either one and experience similar results. However, there are small differences that may be relevant to you. Now that you know them, you can use this information to decide which is best for your particular situation.

If you’re interested in learning more about the similarities and differences between different medications, and the many ways medications can help you to live a happier and healthier life, please check out the rest of our blog for more great posts.

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs.

Aleve vs Ibuprofen

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