Difference Between Aspirin and Tylenol (Acetaminophen)

Aspirin and Tylenol are used for the same cause most of the time, and that is as anti-inflammatory drugs and as pain killers. There are many differences among the two drugs.


Aspirin is an acetylsalicylic acid frequently prescribed for aches and pains, rheumatic pain, muscular pain, menstrual pain, and fever. It is also used as a blood thinner when used in minor doses for patients with heart attack or stroke risk. Aspirin is available as a chewable tablet or enteric coated tablet, and its daily dosage for an average adult is maximum 4g. A person should not use aspirin if he/she has asthma, bleeding disorders, liver disease, stomach ulcers, nasal polyps, heart diseases etc. Alcohol consumption should also be avoided because it tends to increase stomach bleeding. People should not take aspirin and ibuprofen simultaneously because ibuprofen reduces aspirin’s effectiveness towards protecting the heart and vessels. A pregnant or breast feeding mother always should avoid aspirin intake because it can harm the baby’s heart, reduce birth weight and cause other harmful effects.

Aspirin has several side effects such as severe nausea, coughing blood, vomiting, black bloody stools, fever for days, heartburn, dizziness etc. One should be careful if giving aspirin to a child or a teen, especially when he/she is suffering from fever. For some children aspirin can be fatal and this condition is called Reye’s syndrome. In a situation of overdosing, people experience dizziness, headaches, rapid breathing, hallucinations, fever etc.


Tylenol is also known as acetaminophen in pharmaceutical generic name. A brand name like APAP also stands for the same drug. This is a popular pain killer which can also reduce fever. Tylenol is available in many forms, a tablet, a chewable tablet, a granular form which can be dissolved in to syrup. Tylenol is prescribed in many incidents such as aches (headaches, backaches, and toothaches), cold and fever. It is important to understand that although the sensation of pain is reduced, this does not do anything to recover from the underlying cause for pain. The mechanism of Tylenol action is mainly of two types. It inhibits prostaglandin synthesis; a special molecule which is responsible for signaling inflammation and thereby reduces pain (actually reduces sensitivity to pain for a limited time period). It affects hypothalamic heat regulatory center and help disperse body heat hence reduce fever.

People should be cautious about the Tylenol intake because overdose and simultaneous intake of alcohol or certain drugs have highly harmful effects. The usual daily dosage for an adult is 4000mg and 1000mg maximum per intake. Overdose can cause liver damage. Medical advice should be taken if a person is already under medication because some drugs contain a certain amount of Tylenol in them which will result in overdose. Alcohol intake should be strictly avoided since it can increase damage to liver.

Aspirin vs Tylenol (Acetaminophen)

• Aspirin gives relief from both pain and swelling while Tylenol only reduces pain.

• Aspirin can cause gastric irritations, but Tylenol has lower or no effect in causing gastric irritations.

• Aspirin can be used for stroke medication due to the anti-clotting ability, but Tylenol cannot be used.