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Pain Control After Surgery: Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen?

Question: My husband just had surgery and is coming off of his prescription pain relievers. What should be used to treat pain, ibuprofen or acetaminophen?

Answer from: Dr. Susan Maddux, Pharm.D., pharmacy expert

You can take both ibuprofen and acetaminophen for minor pain relief. Be sure to check the labels for contraindications, or situations where you should not use the drug because it may be harmful.

The comments shared by experts in Ask the Expert do not reflect UnitedHealthcare views nor benefit plans. It is general educational information only, is not intended as medical advice, and does not replace consultation with a doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional. Contact an appropriate health care professional with any questions and to determine what may be right for you. Check your health care benefit plan for specific coverage details.
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Meet Dr. Susan Maddux, Pharmacy Expert

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Answering your questions about medications and pharmaceuticals

Dr. Susan Maddux, chief pharmacy officer for UnitedHealthcare, has been practicing pharmacy for the past 30 years. As a clinical pharmacist with a doctor of pharmacy degree and a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist, she works closely with physicians and medical directors.

The comments shared by experts in Ask the Expert do not reflect UnitedHealthcare views nor benefit plans. It is general educational information only, is not intended as medical advice, and does not replace consultation with a doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional. Contact an appropriate health care professional with any questions and to determine what may be right for you. Check your health care benefit plan for specific coverage details.
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The comments shared by experts in Ask the Expert do not reflect UnitedHealthcare views nor benefit plans. It is general educational information only, is not intended as medical advice, and does not replace consultation with a doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional. Contact an appropriate health care professional with any questions and to determine what may be right for you. Check your health care benefit plan for specific coverage details.
Transcript

This viewer asks after surgery and after stopping prescription pain relievers, what should be used to treat pain, ibuprofen or acetaminophen? Both medications can be used to treat minor aches and pains and it’s important to check the labels of both ibuprofen as well as acetaminophen to look for any contraindications. For example, if you have certain medical conditions such as ulcers, it may not be advisable to take ibuprofen so it’s critical that you do read the labels looking for contraindications for both products. The viewer also wants to know if products, if both products can be taken together. Some patients do alternate the products so for one dose they may take ibuprofen and the next time they may take acetaminophen and that is an acceptable use of both of these medications.