What ibuprofen, acetaminophen do best

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

Family Matters

December 19, 2004|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

What, exactly, is the difference between ibuprofen and acetaminophen?

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug somewhat similar to aspirin. It lowers fever, relieves pain and reduces inflammation associated with sprains, strains and arthritis. Acetaminophen also diminishes fever and relieves pain but is less likely to ease inflammation.

The biggest difference between these drugs is digestive tract upset. Acetaminophen doesn't usually cause such problems, but ibuprofen, aspirin and other NSAIDs can trigger heartburn or even ulcers. Long-term regular use of acetaminophen was recently linked to an increased risk of kidney problems.

I was just prescribed lovastatin for high cholesterol. I am disappointed to see that grapefruit and its juice are "banned." Why?

Cholesterol-lowering drugs like Mevacor (lovastatin), Zocor (simvastatin) and Lipitor (atorvastatin) are all affected by grapefruit. Blood levels of these medications rise, and there may be an increased risk of side effects.

Grapefruit blocks an enzyme that processes dozens of medicines, including BuSpar, Cordarone, Tegretol and Viagra. All may be more dangerous if grapefruit is consumed within a day or two of taking the medicine.

Some cholesterol-lowering drugs are not affected by grapefruit. Ask your doctor if Crestor, Lescol or Pravachol would be appropriate for you.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.