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Although medical science certainly hasn’t cured everything that ails the human body, it has created medications that can greatly reduce the amount of pain and discomfort that people must endure. It’s important to use these medications safely, however, especially when combining them. Fortunately, the popular over-the-counter remedies Tylenol and Aleve can be safely used together to treat pain and inflammation.


How Aleve Works

When the body suffers an injury or infection, it sends white blood cells to the source of the problem where they can fight off bacteria and repair tissue damage. Although the inflammation process is crucial to healing, inflammation can cause discomfort by creating red, irritated and swollen tissue. The body’s inflammatory response can also last longer than necessary or misfire and attack the body’s own tissue.

The active ingredient in Aleve is a chemical called naproxen sodium. Naproxen sodium is an anti-inflammatory that slows the body’s immune response to reduce uncomfortable or persistent inflammation. Aleve works by blocking some of the enzymes white blood cells produce while they are protecting and healing the body.


How Tylenol Works

Pain is the body’s way of telling the brain that something is wrong. When an injury or illness causes discomfort, the affected body part sends a signal to the brain using chemicals called prostaglandins. The brain then interprets this signal as pain and responds to it appropriately.

The active ingredient in Tylenol is a chemical called acetaminophen. Acetaminophen works to prevent the prostaglandin transmitters from reaching the brain. The brain can’t experience the pain if the body is unable to send a pain signal, so blocking this conversation between body and mind alleviates the sensation of pain.


Working Together

Tylenol and Aleve are safe to take together and doctors sometimes recommend that patients do so. Together the two medications attack pain using a two-pronged approach, with one medication reducing painful inflammation while the other reduces the number of pain signals received by the brain. For maximum pain relief, it’s best to stagger these medications when taking them together. Adults should take 500 to 1,000 milligrams of Tylenol every four to six hours and 650 to 1,300 milligrams of Aleve every eight hours.

If the drugs fail to alleviate the pain even when taken together, consult a physician right away for help. Don’t take more of the drugs than recommended, however. Excessive doses of Tylenol can cause liver damage and excessive amounts of Aleve may lead to bleeding in the stomach.