Can You Take Paracetamol with Nurofen: Guidelines for Safe Use

Can You Take Paracetamol with Nurofen: Guidelines for Safe Use

Navigating the shelves of your local Boots or Superdrug, you’ve likely encountered the friendly faces of paracetamol (better known by its cosy household name, Calpol) and Nurofen (sporting the more technical badge of ibuprofen 200mg), two stalwarts in the battle against aches, pains, and fevers. These medications have become almost as essential to our home healthcare kits as plasters and antiseptic cream, each playing its unique role like two keys designed for different locks. Paracetamol steps up as our go-to for pain relief and fever busting, offering a gentle nudge to our system, while Nurofen, with its anti-inflammatory prowess, dives a bit deeper, tackling inflammation and more intense pain.

Yet, despite their ubiquity and the relief they bring to many a bedside table, there’s a persisting puzzle that often has us scratching our heads: Can these two over-the-counter champions be taken together? The confusion is real, and rightfully so, given their prevalence and the mixed messages floating around. But fear not, as we embark on this journey through the ins and outs of paracetamol and ibuprofen, we’re here to clear the air, guide you through their synergies and distinctions, and ensure you’re equipped with the knowledge to use them safely and effectively.

Risks of Separate and Combined Use of Paracetamol and Nurofen

When it comes to managing pain, the question “Can you take paracetamol with Nurofen?” often crops up, and for good reason. Both of these medications are staples in home medicine cabinets worldwide, known for their efficacy in treating various types of pain and fever. But here’s the good news: yes, you can indeed take paracetamol and Nurofen together, either at the same time or spaced apart.

This combination can be particularly helpful for short-term relief of moderate pain, offering an alternative to opioid-based painkillers, which many would prefer to avoid due to their side effects and potential for dependency.

Paracetamol, known for its pain-relieving and fever-reducing effects, works differently from Nurofen, which contains ibuprofen, an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) that not only reduces pain but also tackles inflammation.

However, it’s crucial to follow safe practice guidelines when taking these medications together. For instance, taking more than one product containing ibuprofen (such as Nurofen and Nurofen Zavance) or combining them with other NSAIDs like aspirin or naproxen without consulting a healthcare professional is not recommended. Additionally, paracetamol should not be mixed with other medicines containing the same active ingredient.

To minimize risk and maximize effectiveness, always take ibuprofen with food or on a full stomach and adhere to the dosing instructions carefully. For paracetamol, the limit is up to 4 doses within 24 hours, and for ibuprofen, up to 3 doses, ensuring you do not exceed the recommended daily intake for each pain reliever.

What adds a layer of convenience for those seeking pain relief is the availability of over-the-counter combination products in countries like Australia, including Nuromol and Maxigesic. These products contain both paracetamol and ibuprofen, formulated to alleviate pain effectively, making them a practical choice for short-term use under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

But, when it comes to children, the rules slightly change. Paracetamol is often the first choice for pain and fever in kids, but ibuprofen can also be given safely. The golden rule here is not to administer both medications at the same time and always wait for at least an hour between doses of the different medicines unless a healthcare professional advises otherwise.

Lastly, remember, while taking paracetamol with Nurofen can offer more effective relief for certain types of pain than using one of the medications alone, consulting a GP or pharmacist before beginning any new medication regimen is imperative. They can offer personalized advice based on your health history and other medications you may be taking, ensuring your safety and wellbeing. So, while the answer to “Can you take paracetamol with Nurofen?” is a reassuring yes, taking that step with professional guidance is always the best path forward.

Risks of Separate and Combined Use of Paracetamol and Nurofen

IMG Source: medicalprices.co.uk

Before you grab that bottle of paracetamol and Nurofen off the shelf and consider dosing yourself, it’s a bright idea to touch base with a healthcare professional. Particularly, if you’re managing existing health conditions or are on other medications, a quick chat with your doctor or pharmacist could save you a world of trouble. Think of them as your personal guides in the maze of over-the-counter medication.

Striking a conversation about whether you can take paracetamol with Nurofen not only puts your mind at ease but ensures you’re treating your body with the respect and caution it deserves. Moreover, for moments of uncertainty or worry, remember that resources like the NHS guidelines are just a click away, offering a beacon of light. By taking this crucial step, you’re not just making an informed choice; you’re prioritizing your well-being and taking control of your health journey with confidence and assurance.


  • You should not take paracetamol with Nurofen, as both contain active ingredients that belong to the same group of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can increase the chance of getting side effects like stomach ache or stomach bleeds.
  • Paracetamol and anti-inflammatory drugs such as Nurofen are two different things, so it’s safe to take them together, either at the same time or spaced apart. Ibuprofen is best taken with food or on a full stomach.
  • It’s safe to take ibuprofen with paracetamol or codeine.
  • It is not recommended to take Panadol with any other medicines that contain paracetamol.
  • Taking more than one Nurofen product (for example, Nurofen and Nurofen Zavance) is not recommended.
  • Paracetamol and ibuprofen can be safely taken together for short-term moderate pain as an alternative to opioid-based painkillers, though not recommended for long-term use in chronic pain.
  • Do not take Nurofen if you are taking products containing ibuprofen, aspirin, or other anti-inflammatory medicines, or if you are taking medication regularly unless advised by your doctor.
  • OTC pain relievers containing paracetamol and ibuprofen in combination are available in Australia, including Nuromol and Maxigesic with different dosage regimens and availability as Pharmacy Medicines or Pharmacist Only Medicines.
  • The NSW Poisons Information Centre has witnessed a spike in calls from consumers worried they may have accidentally overdosed on medicines containing paracetamol and ibuprofen combined in a single tablet (Nuromol, Maxigesic).
  • Panadol may be used safely in combination with certain NSAIDs and other common pain relievers, but it is important to consult a doctor or pharmacist before doing so.
  • The dosing instructions on the labels of both Nuromol and Maxigesic include a warning not to take the medicine with other products containing paracetamol, ibuprofen, or other anti-inflammatories.
  • The scientific consensus on whether the combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen produces an enhanced painkilling effect has yet to be reached, with some evidence suggesting better pain relief for specific types of pain such as tooth extraction, while other studies have only identified a simple additive effect.
  • Two new analgesic products, Nuromol and Maxigesic, containing paracetamol in combination with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) ibuprofen, were launched on the Australian over-the-counter (OTC) market in 2014.
  • Paracetamol/ibuprofen combinations could be offered as an alternative to codeine-based analgesics to patients for whom NSAIDs are not contraindicated and paracetamol alone is not sufficient.
  • Paracetamol and ibuprofen can be given together but you should stagger them. Each medicine will take between 30 minutes to 1 hour to work. So wait 1 hour after the first medicine and wait to see if they need another medicine.
  • Do not give paracetamol and ibuprofen at the same time; give these medicines one at a time unless instructed otherwise by a doctor or nurse.
  • If you take ibuprofen and paracetamol together, remember not to exceed the recommended daily doses for each pain reliever.
  • Paracetamol and ibuprofen are available on prescription, can be dispensed by pharmacists as part of the pharmacy minor ailments scheme, and can also be bought from shops and chemists including Boots pharmacy, Superdrug pharmacy, Lloyds pharmacy, and others.
  • Paracetamol does not affect prescription medicines, including antibiotics, in general.
  • It is generally considered safe for individuals over the age of 16 to take medicines containing ibuprofen and Panadol simultaneously, as there is no evidence of harmful effects when they interact in the body.


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