Difference Between Ibuprofen and Aspirin

 Ibuprofen and aspirin are drugs that are usually purchased from pharmacies without a prescription from a doctor.

Their most common preventive use is against pain from inflammation, cramps, etc and is therefore also called pain relief medicines.

They are commonly referred to as over-the-counter medications due to their unprescribed nature.

Ibuprofen vs Aspirin

The main difference between ibuprofen and aspirin is that ibuprofen has a carbon atom positioning different from that of aspirin.

Their active ingredients vary even though almost all other ingredients are in common.

Ibuprofen has propionic acid as its active ingredient while aspirin has salicylic acid as the main ingredient. Both these acids are different in the number of carbon atoms they hold.

Ibuprofen vs Aspirin

Ibuprofen has a definite dose that is meant for regular uses such as headaches or cramps. In case a patient wants higher doses to counter their pain then they need a prescription from the doctor without which the pharmacist might refuse to provide the high dose medication. This is because such higher doses might give rise to side effects that might be chronic.

Aspirin is a common household medicine name that almost all houses have in their first-aid box. One of the most common over-the-counter medicine in India is aspirin. Their doses are always kept in check by the pharmacists to make sure that the purchasers don’t overdose and get a major side effect if used for long.

Comparison Table Between Ibuprofen and Aspirin

Parameters of ComparisonIbuprofenAspirin
Active IngredientPropionic acidSalicylic acid
Regular Dose200 mg325 mg
Can be Taken By People With Cardiovascular IssuesNoIt’s not an issue
Is a Risk to People With Clotting IssuesNoYes
Better for Long TermYesNo, unless for heart issues

What is Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a common pain killer used by people all over to get relief from recurring pain.

The active ingredient in ibuprofen is propionic acid. It is a three-carbon compound with the third carbon being a part of the acid side chain.

The two-carbon chain that the acidic group is attached to is the reason ibuprofen is different from its sister pain relief medicines.

Ibuprofen isn’t always sold under the chemical name but rather it has a few brand names that might change with the country of origin or country of sale.

In India, it’s more commonly known to the common mass as Advil or Motrin.

The major action of ibuprofen is to inhibit an enzyme that causes inflammation.

Inflammations can be a reason for massive pain in the sites of action.

Ibuprofen inhibits the enzyme cyclooxygenase that is more commonly called COX enzyme among the medical fraternity.

COX prevents the activated formation of prostaglandins that are the major reason for the formation of inflammation.

The regular dose for ibuprofen that is provided by pharmacists for pain relief is 200 milligrams.

It can be taken within an hour gap of 4-6 hours depending on the intensity of the pain that the patient is going through.

It is advised to not keep having the medication in a small-time gap such as an hour or so.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t prescribed in smaller doses for long-term use by doctors for those who might need its effects to cure something bigger.

A few side effects of ibuprofen include nausea and diarrhea along with headaches and abdominal pains.

People who have a history of cardiovascular issues are always advised not to have ibuprofen medicines as it might aggravate their problems.

High doses of ibuprofen can lead to kidney failures and peptic ulcers.

What is Aspirin?

 Aspirin is the most commonly gone for pain relief medicine.

The main ingredient in aspirin is salicylic acid that gives it’s the unique difference from other pain killers out in the market.

It has seven carbon atoms including the carbon from the -COOH of the acidic group.

It has many brand names other than the chemical name of aspirin.

In India, it is commonly present in pharmacies under the name of Bayer or Ecotrin.

Their major site of action is the glands that produce prostaglandins that cause inflammation.

Aspirin, therefore, inhibits the formation of the enzyme cyclooxygenase that helps in the formation of prostaglandins.

A regular dose of aspirin is 325 milligrams.

Each dose can be taken with a time gap of over 5 hours to enhance the activity of the medication.

Higher doses are strictly kept a tab of by medical practitioners and even the local pharmacists.

The higher the dose, the greater would be the side effects and the longer it would affect the individual.

Long terms are generally not recommended as it might lead to issues such as kidney failures.

But if in case a doctor prescribes a long-term usage of aspirin, it might be in cases of those patients with a history of heart attacks or strokes.

But for such long-term courses, the doctors have always prescribed a low dose of about 81 milligrams.

This low dose is commonly called baby aspirin.

Baby aspirin is a daily taken medicine for people with chronic heart disorders.

Those people with a greater risk to bleed are advised to not have aspirin as it might aggravate the situation.

Even people with kidney failures are advised to keep away from aspirin.

Main Differences Between Ibuprofen and Aspirin

  1. While the active ingredient in ibuprofen is propionic acid that in aspirin is salicylic acid both of which have a difference in their carbon numbers.
  2. The common brand names of ibuprofen are Advil and Motrin while aspirin is Bayer and Ecotrin.
  3. It is more common for ibuprofen to be used as a long-term medication than aspirin because the amount of side effects shown by ibuprofen tends to be less in the long run.
  4. The regular dose limit of ibuprofen is 200mg which is the bare minimum required to help them overpower their pain while that of aspirin is 325mg.
  5. Ibuprofen shows side effects for those with cardiovascular disorders while aspirin is known to cure it.
Difference Between Ibuprofen and Aspirin


 Ibuprofen and aspirin are both two non-steroidal medicines.

They are two anti-inflammatory drugs that have pain relief as their major objective.

All individuals shouldn’t consume either of the two medicines without consulting their physicians.

Both have side effects that might create issues with their kidneys or cause ulcers along the inner lining of the digestive tract.

All individuals with kidney problems are advised to keep away from both pain killers.

This is to not aggravate the kidney issues that they already have. 

Aspirin is generally preferred for short-term use for immediate action against pain and inflammation.

Ibuprofen is always a preferred short-term medicine and isn’t considered great for long-term use by patients.


  1. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/abs/10.7326/0003-4819-91-6-877
  2. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/01.cir.101.10.1206
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