Ibuprofen beats acetaminophen for period pain

Although both ibuprofen and acetaminophen reduce menstrual pain, ibuprofen appears to have more potent effects, according to investigators from the West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown.

Although ibuprofen is accepted as an effective treatment for painful periods, or dysmenorrhea, Drs. M. Yusoff Dawood and Firyal S. Khan-Dawood note in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, there is still controversy about the usefulness of acetaminophen. Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, is known as paracetamol in several countries.

To investigate further, the duo conducted a small trial involving 12 women with dysmenorrhea who were given three different treatments in random order for three different periods: 1000 milligrams of acetaminophen, 400 milligrams of ibuprofen, or an inactive placebo, four times daily for three days.

The women rated the active medications as being more effective than placebo. “However,” Dr. Dawood told Reuters Health, “it appears that ibuprofen has a greater effect and patients also preferred it.”

SOURCE: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, January 2007.

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