Contributors: Marie Hunt and Dr. Emran from Simple Health Radio
On this episode of Simple Health Radio, Dr. Emran discusses the differences and similarities between Tylenol and Motrin.
Tylenol and Motrin are pain relievers and fever reducers but belong to different drug classes. Tylenol is an analgesic that temporarily relieves minor aches and reduces fevers. Motrin is a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to relieve mild to moderate pain and reduce swelling.
Tylenol’s active ingredient in the US is Acetaminophen and in foreign countries, it is called Paracetamol.
Motrin is also known as Ibuprofen or Advil.
To determine the proper dose, both medications require a calculation based on weight using milligrams to kilograms. The weight in pounds is first converted to kilograms either by a rough estimate (ex. 20lbs. divided by half equals 10kg) or the accurate calculation (divide pounds by 2.2).
The recommended dosage of Tylenol is 15mg per kg while Motrin is 10 mg per kg. For example, if a child weighs about 20 lbs, the weight in kg is about 10 kg. For Tylenol, the final dose would be 150mg while Motrin, the final dose would be 100mg.
It is recommended to take both medications with food as it will be much easier on the stomach.
When it comes to which medication to use for fever, it really depends on the age of the child and their past responses. In children, Tylenol is generally safer, especially for infants and newborns, due to the minimal side effects. Motrin can be used, but it’s best to wait until the child is at least six months or older. Pregnant women should only use Tylenol as it is metabolized in the liver and has no side effects on the developing baby. Motrin is not safe in pregnancy as it can cross the placenta and cause side effects on the newborn.
Tylenol is metabolized in the liver, so there are cases where people can develop liver problems by overdosing.
Motrin in children and adults can cause severe side effects. Overuse can increase stomach acid leading to gastritis and stomach ulcers. Motrin can also cause permanent damage to kidneys.
Some over the counter medications such as a cough and cold medications actually have Motrin or Tylenol in high doses already in them. To avoid overdosing on either medication, be sure to notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medication. This includes any vitamins, herbal products, or over the counter medications.
To keep you and your family safe be sure to download Dr. Emran’s chart on dosage amounts.
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