Difference Between NSAID and Acetaminophen (With Table)

NSAIDs and Acetaminophen are nothing but types of medications used for pain relief and reducing fever. They are non-narcotic and non-steroidal drugs, and hence, are usually considered to be safe drugs used as painkillers. While both NSAID and Acetaminophen are used for the same purpose, they differ in many ways. 

NSAID vs Acetaminophen 

The difference between NSAIDs and Acetaminophen is that- NSAIDs are non-narcotic and non-steroidal drugs that can be used to reduce inflammation in the form of irritation and swelling. On the other hand, Acetaminophen, commonly referred to as paracetamol, cannot be used to reduce inflammation.  

NSAID or Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs are medications that are not steroids. They are used to reduce fever and are often used as painkillers. NSAIDs also work as anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation in the form of swelling and irritation. Some of the common examples of NSAIDs are- ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. Therefore, NSAIDs are generally safe drugs. However, these drugs have to be used with some precautions on people having bleeding or coagulation issues.  

Acetaminophen also referred to as paracetamol, is a type of medication used to reduce pain and fever. However, unlike NSAIDs, Acetaminophen cannot be used to reduce inflammation. These drugs are primarily used to reduce fever, flu, common cold, headaches and are often combined with powerful painkillers to ease post-surgical pain. Therefore, Acetaminophen is generally a safe drug. However, an overdose can cause some fatal damage to the liver, and hence, it needs to be used with caution. 

Comparison Table Between NSAID and Acetaminophen 

  Parameters of Comparison   NSAID  Acetaminophen 
 Inflammation   Used to reduce inflammation in the form of irritation and swelling.   It cannot be used to reduce inflammation. 
 Blood/Coagulation issues   It cannot be used safely on people with blood or coagulation issues.  It can be used safely on people with blood or coagulation issues. 
 Pregnancy   It is not safe to be used during pregnancies.  It is safe to be used during pregnancies. 
 Overdose   An overdose can result in a heart attack or stroke, kidney failure.   An overdose can result in fatal damage to the liver. 
 Safety   Generally safe. However, it should be used with Cox-2 inhibitors to prevent peptic ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding.   This is a safe drug for adults up to a dosage of 400mg/day. 

What is NSAID? 

NSAID or Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs are medications that are not steroids. They are used to reduce fever and are often used as painkillers. NSAIDs also work as anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation in the form of swelling and irritation. The NSAID drugs are not narcotics. Hence, they do not produce addiction or withdrawal symptoms and are often preferred over powerful painkillers.  

Some of the common examples of NSAIDs are- ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. NSAIDs are non-steroidal, safe drugs that can be used to reduce pain and inflammation. However, an overdose can lead to heart attack or stroke and kidney failure. NSAIDs are also not suitable for use on people with blood or coagulation issues.  

NSAIDs are generally preferred to be used with Cox-2 selective inhibitors to prevent chances of gastrointestinal bleeding or peptic ulcers. These drugs are also not safe for pregnant women. NSAIDs interacting with antibiotic drugs like quinolones increase the chances of side effects like a seizure. Therefore, even though NSAIDs are safe drugs, they have to be used with some precautions. 

What is Acetaminophen? 

Acetaminophen or commonly known as paracetamol is a type of medication used to reduce pain and fever. However, unlike NSAIDs, Acetaminophen cannot be used to reduce inflammation. They are non-narcotic, safe painkillers and can be used to reduce fever, common cold, flu, and headaches.  

Acetaminophen is often combined with powerful painkillers to ease post-surgical pain. Acetaminophen is a safe drug that can be safely used on people with blood or coagulation issues. They are also safe to be used on children and pregnant women. Acetaminophen is safe to be used on adults up to the dosage of 400mg/day.   

Acetaminophen, however, is not safe for chronic alcoholics. An overdose can lead to fatal liver damage and can have fatal skin drug reactions like Steven Johnson’s Syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis on children. Therefore, even though it is a safe drug, it has to be used with some precaution. 

Main Differences Between NSAID and Acetaminophen 

  1. NSAIDs also work as anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation in the form of swelling and irritation. On the other hand, Acetaminophen cannot be used to reduce inflammation.  
  2. NSAID is not safe to be used on people with blood or coagulation issues, whereas, Acetaminophen is safe to be used on people with blood or coagulation issues.  
  3. NSAIDs are not safe to be used during pregnancies, whereas, Acetaminophen is safe to be used during pregnancies.  
  4. An overdose on NSAID can lead to heart attack or stroke, and kidney failure. On the other hand, an overdose of Acetaminophen can lead to fatal liver damage.  
  5. NSAIDs are generally safe drugs. However, However, it should be used with Cox-2 inhibitors to prevent peptic ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding. On the other hand, Acetaminophen is safe in adults up to a dosage of 400mg/day. 

Conclusion

NSAIDs and Acetaminophen are nothing but types of medications used for pain relief and reducing fever. Since they are non-narcotic and non-steroidal drugs, they are often considered as safe painkillers. While both NSAID and Acetaminophen are used for the same purpose, they differ in many ways.  

NSAID or Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs are medications that are not steroids. They are used to reduce fever and are often used as painkillers. The NSAID drugs are not narcotics. Hence, they do not produce addiction or withdrawal symptoms and are often preferable over powerful painkillers. NSAIDs interacting with antibiotic drugs like quinolones increase the chances of side effects like a seizure. Therefore, even though NSAIDs are safe drugs, they have to be used with some precautions.  

Acetaminophen or commonly known as paracetamol is a type of medication used to reduce pain and fever. They are non-narcotic, safe painkillers and can be used to reduce fever, common cold, flu, and headaches. Acetaminophen is often combined with powerful painkillers to ease post-surgical pain. Acetaminophen, however, is not safe for chronic alcoholics, and an overdose can lead to fatal liver damage. Therefore, even though it is a safe drug, it has to be used with some precaution.  

 References  

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0889540606005774 
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0009922808319967 
x
2D vs 3D