Ibuprofen is a drug used to treat headaches and mild to moderate pain. Aspirin is a drug that is used for many of the same uses as ibuprofen. Both are very similar as they come from the same class of drugs know as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. They both work by inhibiting COX-1 and COX-2 resulting in the increase of prostaglandins which are responsible for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. The main difference between aspirin and ibuprofen is their side effects. For this reason many have a preference between the two when considering ibuprofen vs aspirin as everyone's body is going to react differently to medications. There are also certain situations where aspirin is preferred over ibuprofen and other situations where ibuprofen is preferred over aspirin.
Benefits of ibuprofen
One of the benefits of ibuprofen over aspirin is the reported absence of many of the gastrointestinal effects associated with aspirin at lower doses. While ibuprofen may still exhibit irritation of the stomach lining and other gastrointestinal organs at lower doses it is often reported to be significantly less harsh than aspirin. For this reason those with sensitive stomachs or a past history of ulcers or other stomach problems are often recommended to take ibuprofen over aspirin. Effects of stomach discomfort are minimized even more if either medication is taken on a full stomach as opposed to an empty stomach. Ibuprofen is also recommended for use with those who are hemophiliacs. This is due to the fact that ibuprofen thins blood to a lesser extent than aspirin.
Ibuprofen is also better for children than aspirin. In children aspirin poses the risk of the child developing a serious condition known as Reyes syndrome. While ibuprofen poses the risk of children developing Stevens-Johnson syndrome the likelihood is much less. Ibuprofen is also better for muscle pain due to inflammation. Aspirin is not as potent as an anti-inflammatory agent as ibuprofen is and is generally just useful as an analgesic whereas in higher doses ibuprofen can act as both an analgesic and an anti-inflammatory agent. Because of this ibuprofen is often recommended for muscle injuries over aspirin.
Benefits of aspirin
One advantage that aspirin poses over ibuprofen is its blood thinning properties. For this reason it is prescribed often at low doses to those at risk for heart attacks or with high blood pressure. Though ibuprofen is also known to thin blood it does not do so to as great of a degree as aspirin. Due to its anticoagulant properties it is also useful for preventing strokes. Aspirin is also safe to take for those who are on antibiotics while ibuprofen can interact and interfere with the action of the antibiotic drugs. There has also been research which suggests that a low daily dose of aspirin may prevent cancer as well as slow the spread of cancer in those who have already developed it. Another study has indicated that taking aspirin may also help to prevent the development of Alzheimer disease as well as Parkinson's disease. Many of theses benefits of Aspirin are thought to be ascribed to its blood thinning properties.