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ETpro's avatar

What OTC pain killers can you safely mix for cross potentiation?

Asked by ETpro (34247 points ) December 11th, 2010

Excedrin combines aspirin, Tylenol (acetaminophen) and caffeine. Taken together, the analgesics are much more effective than any one alone, even if the single one is taken in larger dosage. The caffeine makes Excedrin or its generics particularly good at relieving headaches, as caffeine alone tends to relieve headache pain.

How about other analgesics such as Motrin (ibuprofen), Aleve (Naproxen sodium), etc. What analgesic cocktails are safe and more effective than any of the constituents taken separately?

I seem to have a tooth that’s abscessing back near where my lower right wisdom tooth used to be. I can feel the fistula on the gum below it, and I can REALLY feel the tooth. What’s safe to take in OTC analgesics to get me through the weekend while my dentist is unavailable? What, if any OTC analgesics should I always avoid mixing?

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12 Answers

jessifer1212's avatar

The best thing to do is alternate acetaminophen and ibuprofen. It’s recommended that you take the proper dosage of each every 4 hours, but if you alternate you’ll be taking one every two hours.

HungryGuy's avatar

I would strongly advise against mixing pain killers together on your own. Especially acetaminophen.

ETpro's avatar

@jessifer1212 Thanks for that.

@HungryGuy Who made that recommendation. Acetaminophen is combined with other pain killers all the time. Excedrin is an OTC mix of it with asprin and caffeine. Vicodin and all its other names, and Percocet all have acetaminophen in them along with other analgesics.

deliasdancemom's avatar

Go to the pharmacy and in the dental care aisle look for a topical analgesic called “toothache” it is longer lasting than orajel products and works really well at numbing. The problems with any NSAIDs (asprin, naproxen or ibuprofen) is that you should be off of them 48 hours befor any oral sugery or cutting of the gum is done so keep that in mind if you think that might be in the near future….thought tylenol would be acceptable. I would reccomend going to an urgent care center, even though they are regular physicians they would likely perscribe you tylenol with codine or vicodin to get thru the weekend. Another thing you can do yourself is mix equal parts benedryl and milk of magnesia rinse (don’t swallow) every 4–6 hrs as needed in conjunction with the tylenol (6–8 hrs) to reduce swelling without having to use an NSAID that could delay any surgical treatments

deliasdancemom's avatar

Never exceed 4 grams (4000mg) of tylenol a day, major damage to the liver can be done in a matter of days
*edit each xtra strengh tylenol contains 500 mg

deliasdancemom's avatar

What jess reccomended actually is okay to do, the danger lies in exceeding the reccomended daily dose of acetominophen

Cruiser's avatar

Our pediatrician recommended the same as @jessifer1212 and seemed to be very effective regimen.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser Thanks. That seems to be holding things in reasonable check. I found an emergency walk in, got x-rayed and confirmed I’ve got an abscess in a molar that had an ancient filling. They give me a round of penicillin to take every 4 hours, and some Vicodin-ES which I am just going to use at night. So If I sound loopy when I sign back on this evening—it will be because I am!

augustlan's avatar

Alternating acetaminophen with an NSAID has been recommended to us several times, even for kids with stubborn fevers. The thing to be careful of is taking more than one drug that is the same kind. Many OTC cold medicines contain acetaminophen, too. So you have to be careful about taking one of those and Tylenol. And there are several different NSAIDs on the market, and none should be taken together (Aleve, Motrin, etc.) I take a prescription NSAID twice a day, so if I get a headache or something, I’ve got to take Tylenol for that.

ETpro's avatar

@augustlan Good point on mot mixing NSAIDs or drugs with similar actions. That makes perfect sense.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@deliasdancemom why should you not take NSAID’s before oral surgery?

ETpro's avatar

@deliasdancemom Having just been advised on that point by my dentist, I can answer that one. NSAIDs as a class tend to be blood thinners. This makes them helpful in preventing and unblocking clots, but increases risks of uncontrolled bleeding during any surgery. Acetaminophen is a preferred choice for anyone about to have surgery.

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