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Acetaminophen And Naproxen

Acetaminophen And Naproxen


Acetaminophen and naproxen work in different ways to control pain and have few overlapping side effects. For most people, it’s okay to use them together. However, it’s important to understand how each drug works differently to control your pain. Here are some tips to help you take these drugs together safely, plus warnings and other information you should know.

How they work

Both naproxen and acetaminophen help reduce fever and relieve mild to moderate pain. Examples of these types of pain include:

  • sore throats
  • headaches
  • body or muscle aches
  • menstrual cramps
  • arthritis
  • toothaches

The drugs do different things to relieve this pain. Naproxen blocks the formation of substances that cause inflammation. Reducing inflammation then helps to reduce pain. Acetaminophen, on the other hand, doesn’t reduce inflammation. Instead, it reduces the sensation of pain. It works by blocking the release of substances in the brain that cause pain sensation.

General rules

It’s a good idea to start taking only one type of pain relief medication at a time. You can take one drug and see how it works before you add a second.

Acetaminophen, depending on the strength and type, can be taken as often as every four to six hours. Naproxen, depending on the strength and type, can be taken as often as every eight to 12 hours. Products marked “extra strength” or “all-day relief” should not be taken as often.

You don’t have to adjust your doses of either drug or take them at different times if you take both drugs. That said, taking the medications alternately may help provide better pain relief.

For example, if you take a dose of naproxen, you can’t take another dose for eight hours. Five hours in, though, your pain may start bothering you again. In cases like this, you could take some acetaminophen to tide you over until your next dose of naproxen.

Safety considerations

Although both drugs are generally safe for most people to use, there are certain safety considerations you should keep in mind. Make yourself aware of these considerations to help avoid misusing these drugs.


Naproxen and acetaminophen don’t interact with each other. However, they both may interact with other medications such as warfarin. If you take warfarin or another type of blood thinner, be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before you use either acetaminophen or naproxen.

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