Take Tylenol not Aspirin (unless you have osteoporosis, in which take fish oil and glucosamine)

Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a carboxylic acid derivative while Tylenol (acetaminophen) is an amide derivative.(1p478, 506) Both act as analgesics for relieving pain and reducing fever.

By inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase in prostaglandin synthesis, aspirin reduces inflammation making it a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.(1p478) In the stomach environment, the carboxylic acid derivative reacts directly with the stomach lining and can potentially cause bleeding.(2 & 3)

Tylenol acts on nerve endings to suppress pain, but is not a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.(3 & 1p506) In the stomach environment, because of its structure as an amide derivative, it doesn’t react with the stomach lining and causes no bleeding.(2)

References

1. Denniston, KJ, Topping, JJ & Caret, RL. General, Organic, And Biochemistry, 5th ed. New York: McGraw Hill; 2007.
2. Kleiner, K. Fatty molecules make aspirin easier to stomach. Available at: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg14519652.700-fatty-molecules-make-aspirin-easier-to-stomach.html. Accessed on Oct. 18, 2008.
3. Papazian, R. OTC options: Pain pain go away. FDA Consumer. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/CONSUMER/CON00296a.html. Accessed on Oct. 18, 2008.

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: