Acetaminophen and Aspirin and How They Block Pain
If you’ve ever suffered from a headache or aches and pains, you’ve likely taken a medication that contains acetaminophen or aspirin. You can choose to take one of these medications or a combination medication that includes them both for certain symptoms.
However, many people don’t have a clear understanding of how these two active ingredients work in the body and why they are effective in blocking pain.
Here is a detailed look into the active ingredients contained in acetaminophen and aspirin.
How Acetaminophen Works
Acetaminophen is a type of painkiller that is known as a non-opioid analgesic, which inhibits an enzyme that helps convert fatty acids in cell walls to prostaglandins. These substances called prostaglandins serve protective functions in the body, but they can also create sensations of pain after cells are injured. Acetaminophen blocks this process to reduce aches, pains, headaches, and fevers.
This drug has been used since the late 1800s to reduce pain and was approved by the FDA in 1950. Acetaminophen is effective in limiting prostaglandin functions in some areas while allowing other functions to operate as normal. Unlike some other medications, it’s important to remember that acetaminophen does not reduce inflammation for injuries like muscle strains and sprains.
How Aspirin Works
Aspirin is a medication that is used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, fight fever, and even prevent heart attacks. It works at the site of damaged bodily tissues to block nerve signals to the brain that create the sensation of pain. Like acetaminophen, aspirin works to inhibit prostaglandin from forming to desensitize the nerve endings causing pain. But unlike acetaminophen, it has an anti-inflammatory agent that can reduce swelling and pressure.
Prostaglandins don’t only cause pain, but they can also cause swelling and inflammation at the site of injury. This is a natural response of the body to protect the injured tissues in fluid and promote healing. When aspirin reaches the bloodstream, it is disbursed throughout the entire body but only works where there are prostaglandins, which is where pain is located.
Powerful Chemical Reactions to Block Aches and Pains
On a chemical level, acetaminophen and aspirin work together to block pain when it strikes. While acetaminophen blocks the synthesis of chemical messengers that would otherwise transmit pain signals and cause fever, aspirin helps reduce the inflammation and delivers addition pain relief.
Aspirin is often a better choice of the two to treat chronic and severe pain. Yet certain types of aches and pains, including arthritis pain, back pain, and muscle aches, can be effectively treated with an acetaminophen-aspirin combination. In this way, the drugs target multiple aspects of pain sensors that may be causing pain and discomfort.
How Acetaminophen and Aspirin Work Together
These ingredients work together to treat headaches, as well as general aches and pains all over the body. While acetaminophen is primarily processed in the liver, aspirin is processed in the liver, small intestines, stomach, and other organs. Both drugs are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Both of these powerful ingredients are combined in Vanquish, along with a low dose of caffeine, to deliver temporary relief of muscle aches and backaches. With both drugs combined into a single medication, you receive the benefits of both acetaminophen and aspirin in optimal dosages to target your pain with efficiency and speed. It is important to only consume acetaminophen and aspirin at their recommended therapeutic doses to avoid the risk of side effects and long-term damage. Talk with your doctor to determine whether acetaminophen, aspirin, or a combination of the two are the best treatment for your unique aches and pains.
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