Compare Aspirin vs. Acetaminophen with codeine

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Aspirin

Tylenol #3
(Acetaminophen / Codeine)

Relieves pain, fever, and inflammation. Protects your heart and thins blood. A low dose of Aspirin (81mg) every day can protect your heart, but it's not the best medicine to take for pain, swelling, or fever.Treats mild to moderate pain. Tylenol #3 (Acetaminophen / Codeine) is a good option to treat pain and cough as needed when over-the-counter medicines can't control the symptoms, but must make sure you don't take too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) to avoid liver problems or death.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.152255639097745Aspirin
Reviews for Aspirin
76%
of people say Aspirin is worth it
41%
say it works well
6%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Tylenol #3 (Acetaminophen / Codeine)
70%
6% vs. Aspirin
41%
Same vs. Aspirin
9%
3% vs. Aspirin
Side effects
AspirinAcetaminophen with codeine

We haven’t found good data for Aspirin side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Aspirin »

The Acetaminophen with codeine FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Acetaminophen with codeine side effects »
How it works
AspirinAcetaminophen with codeine
Aspirin is a salicylate and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It blocks the inflammation process in your body, which relieves swelling and pain. It also prevents blood platelets from forming clots, which thins your blood.Tylenol #3 (Acetaminophen / Codeine) is a combination pain medicine. Codeine is an opioid (similar to morphine) that works in the brain to lower pain perception. Acetaminophen is a non-opioid pain reliever and fever reducer.
Type of medication
AspirinAcetaminophen with codeine
Pain reliever
Salicylate
Anticoagulant
Anti-platelet
Over-the-counter
Pain reliever
Acetaminophen (APAP)
Opioid
Prescription only
Available as
AspirinAcetaminophen with codeine
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
AspirinAcetaminophen with codeine
Risk factors for serious side effects
AspirinAcetaminophen with codeine
  • Children 18 years or younger
  • Children recovering from viral infections
  • History of stomach bleeding or ulcers
  • Age 60 years or older
  • Taking Aspirin, NSAIDs, or blood thinners
  • Drinking more than 3 alcoholic beverages a day
  • Asthma
  • Rhinitis
  • Nasal polyps
  • Aspirin allergy
  • NSAID allergy
  • Women of childbearing age
Detailed Aspirin risks & warnings »
Coming soon.
Pregnancy category
AspirinAcetaminophen with codeine
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

See the FDA package insert
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
Alcohol
No specific alcohol-related info.
  • Avoid alcohol.
Food
  • Take with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
  • Generally well tolerated by people, especially if taken with food to lower risk of stomach upset.
  • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
Kidneys and liver
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
No specific sleep-related info.
  • Dizziness and drowsiness is common, but your body may adjust.
  • Can make you dizzy or drowsy.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
AspirinAcetaminophen with codeine
  • When taking low doses (81 mg) every day, Aspirin provides protection for your heart and prevents heart attacks and stroke.
  • Used in higher doses to relieve pain, swelling, and fever.
  • Available over-the-counter in drugstores by itself and in combination with other cold and flu medications.
  • Combination pain medicine with an opioid component (codeine) and non-opioid component (acetaminophen or Tylenol) that takes advantage of different modes of pain relieve in a single pill.
  • Provides quick relieve for mild to moderate pain to improve quality of life.
  • Good for as-needed pain and control.
  • Generally well tolerated by people, especially if taken with food to lower risk of stomach upset.
  • Lower rates of misuse compared to pure opioid medicines.
  • Can help you fall asleep easier.
Downsides and risks
AspirinAcetaminophen with codeine
  • Not a preferred medication for treating pain, swelling, or fever due to its high risk of bleeding.
  • NSAIDs (like ibuprofen and naproxen) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are better for treating pain and fever thank Aspirin.
  • Aspirin raises your risk of bleeding, especially when used with other blood thinner medications like warfarin (Coumadin).
  • Studies show that using higher doses of Aspirin (162 mg or more) every day raises your risk of stomach bleeding and doesn't provide any additional heart protection.
  • Dizziness and drowsiness is common, but your body may adjust.
  • Everyone will get constipation - always stay hydrated and take stool softener or stimulant on days you're taking Acetaminophen with codeine if you need.
  • All opioid containing medicines have the risk of physical dependence and possibility of withdrawal when used long-term.
  • The non-opioid part of Acetaminophen with codeine, acetaminophen (Tylenol), has a high risk of liver failure and death if you take more than the maximum daily dose. Be very careful.
  • Relies on the users to be aware of how much acetaminophen (Tylenol) they are using since it is a very common ingredient in many prescription and non-prescription pain medicines.
  • Avoid alcohol.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
AspirinAcetaminophen with codeine
  • Using low doses (81mg) of Aspirin every day can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, but it isn't good for everyone. Only take Aspirin daily if your doctor recommends it.
  • Higher Aspirin doses can be used to treat occasional pain, swelling, and fever. Using ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead can lower your risk of serious bleeding.
  • Take with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
  • Don't use for kids younger than 18 years old.
  • Stop taking this right away and tell your doctor if you have ringing in your ears, unusual bleeding, or nausea or vomiting that doesn't go away.
  • This is a combination pain medication. It contains both an opioid medicine, and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Starts working in 30 minutes.
  • Works best if you take it as soon as you start feeling pain.
  • Pain relief lasts 4-6 hours.
  • Can make you dizzy or drowsy.
  • Avoid activities need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
  • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
  • Constipation is common and may not go away while you're taking this medicine. Drinking lots of water and using laxatives can help.
  • Don't take more than instructed to prevent liver damage.
  • Use it for the shortest time possible, and at the lowest dose possible, to lower your chance of becoming addicted.
  • Talk to your doctor if it doesn't help enough for your pain, or if the side effects are really bad.
Learn more
More about AspirinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about Acetaminophen with codeineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert