How often have you asked someone for Tylenol and they say "well I have Advil, is that okay?" It seems the same as asking "we don't have Coke, but is Pepsi okay?" The thing is, it's not the same. Tylenol and Advil are different medications and treat pains differently.
What It does:
Tylenol is a brand of acetaminophen, which reduces pain and fever. It's believed that acetaminophen affects COX enzymes in the brain, which reduces the substances which cause pain and inflammation. However, the Cleveland Clinic says Tylenol is more effective for things like arthritis and headaches than cramps, muscle sprains, and fevers.
How Long It Lasts:
Tylenol acts fast, but lasts a short amount of time. Taking Tylenol will relieve your pain for about four hours.
As with any medications, there are risks associated with taking Tylenol. Taking too much Tylenol can be harmful to your liver and cause permanent damage. It can also, in rare cases, cause fatal skin reactions. Other risks include, risk of heart attack and stroke, gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding, and detrimental effects on the kidney. Make sure you are not drinking more than two alcoholic beverages when taking Tylenol. As your dosage increases, your risk of these side effects increases as well.
So what about Advil?
What It Does
Unlike Tylenol, Advil is a brand of ibuprofen, which is used as relief for pain, fever, and inflammation. It blocks COX enzymes, similar to Tylenol, but to a different extent. It not only prevents the substances which cause pain and inflammation, it also blocks a different enzyme which protects your stomach lining. If you have muscle cramps or sprains, Advil is the better choice.
How Long It Lasts
Advil also lasts for up to six hours, and acts quickly. Though many believe your body will build up a tolerance to the pain killer, however the company says this is not the case. They do, however, warn against taking Advil for more than a few days unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
Because it blocks certain enzymes which protect your stomach lining, Advil can cause stomach bleeding (ulcers), heartburn, and constipation. More seriously, it can cause damage to your kidneys, plus lead to a heart attack and stroke.