Compare Ibuprofen vs. Tramadol

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

Advil
(Ibuprofen)

Ultram
(Tramadol)

Relieves pain, fever, and inflammation. Advil (Ibuprofen) works well for mild to moderate pain and inflammation, but it doesn't last as long as other NSAIDs.Treats moderate to severe pain. Ultram (Tramadol) works well to treat severe pain and mood changes. Although it's a little weaker than other opioids, it can still be addictive.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.479768786127168Ibuprofen
Reviews for Advil (Ibuprofen)
88%
of people say Advil (Ibuprofen) is worth it
51%
say it works well
4%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Ultram (Tramadol)
61%
27% vs. Advil (Ibuprofen)
39%
12% vs. Advil (Ibuprofen)
16%
12% vs. Advil (Ibuprofen)
Side effects
IbuprofenTramadol

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

FDA side effect reports for Ibuprofen »
  • Dizziness (not vertigo) 21%
  • Flushing 12%
  • Itching 11%
  • Dry mouth 10%
  • Dizziness 9%
  • Sleep difficulty 8%
  • Positional low blood pressure 3%
More Tramadol side effects »
How it works
IbuprofenTramadol
Advil (Ibuprofen) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It blocks the inflammation process in your body, which relieves swelling and pain.Ultram (Tramadol) is an atypical opioid pain reliever. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it alters certain brain chemicals to lower pain perception and improve mood.
Type of medication
IbuprofenTramadol
Pain reliever
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
Prescription or OTC
Pain reliever
Opioid
Prescription only
Available as
IbuprofenTramadol
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Oral suspension
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Extended release capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
Used for (click to learn more)
IbuprofenTramadol
Risk factors for serious side effects
IbuprofenTramadol
  • History of heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • 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
  • Hemophilia
  • von Willebrand's disease
  • Low blood platelet count
  • Taking anticoagulant medications
  • Asthma
  • Rhinitis
  • Nasal polyps
  • Aspirin allergy
  • NSAID allergy
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart failure
  • Liver disease
  • Taking high blood pressure medications
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Women of childbearing age
Detailed Advil (Ibuprofen) risks & warnings »
  • Higher dose
  • Using other medicines that can cause seizures
  • History of seizures
  • Alcoholism
  • Eating disorders
  • Brain infections
  • Suicidal or at risk
  • Taking other medications that affect serotonin
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • History of allergic reactions to codeine or other opioid pain relievers
  • Phenylalanine sensitivity
  • Stopping Ultram (Tramadol) suddenly
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Taking with alcohol or drugs
  • Taking with alcohol or drugs
    Detailed Ultram (Tramadol) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    IbuprofenTramadol
    DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    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.
    • Serious side effects may include drug abuse, dependence, slowed breathing rate (respiratory depression), and death. Don't take more than your doctor prescribes or take with alcohol, illegal drugs, or other opioid pain relievers.
    Food
    • It needs to be taken with food to avoid getting an upset stomach.
    • Take it with a meal or a snack to prevent upset stomach.
    • Take Ultram (Tramadol) with food to avoid an upset stomach.
    Kidneys and liver
    • It can cause serious kidney and stomach problems (like ulcers and bleeding) the longer you take it.
    • Can hurt your kidneys, so don't use it if you have a history of kidney problems.
    • Advil (Ibuprofen) is an NSAID that can lower kidney function or cause damage. Taking the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time lowers your risk. Your doctor should check your kidney function if you take Advil (Ibuprofen) for any amount of time.
    • There are different doses for people who are older or who have liver or kidney disease, so work with your doctor to get the right dose.
    Sex
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    Sleep
    No specific sleep-related info.
    • Can make you dizzy or drowsy, so avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how this medicine affects you.
    Weight
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    IbuprofenTramadol
    • Works well to relieve pain, swelling, and fevers.
    • Good for menstrual cramps, toothaches, body aches, and mild arthritis pain.
    • Ibuprofen works as well as aspirin in treating pain and causes fewer stomach problems.
    • Ibuprofen works better than acetaminophen (Tylenol) at lowering fever and relieving sinus pain.
    • Although not without side effects, it's been around for a long time and is generally safe for short-term use.
    • Relieves moderate to severe pain. It has been shown to work as well as other opioid pain medications.
    • Compared to typical opioids, it provides unique pain relief and effects on your mood when taken regularly.
    • Has a lower chance of causing breathing problems compared to other typical opioids.
    • Doesn't cause as much constipation as other opioid pain medicines. Staying hydrated and taking laxatives can help treat this side effect.
    Downsides and risks
    IbuprofenTramadol
    • Ibuprofen doesn't work as long as other NSAIDs, so follow the package directions on how often you can take it.
    • It needs to be taken with food to avoid getting an upset stomach.
    • Can't be taken by pregnant women.
    • It can cause serious kidney and stomach problems (like ulcers and bleeding) the longer you take it.
    • Like all NSAIDs, it can raise your risk of having blood clots, heart attack, or stroke.
    • Some people think it's weaker than other opioid pain medications. It can also cause more upset stomach.
    • Like other opioid pain relievers, Tramadol has a high risk of addiction, abuse, misuse, overdose, and death. It should only be used for severe pain that requires daily, around-the-clock treatment once alternative treatments haven't worked.
    • It isn't used for short-term, as-needed pain relief.
    • It's a controlled substance regulated by the federal government. This means that your use of Ultram (Tramadol) will be tracked to prevent potential prescription abuse.
    • To get Ultram (Tramadol) in the pharmacy, you'll need to bring in a paper prescription directly from your doctor.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    IbuprofenTramadol
    • Starts relieving pain in 30 to 60 minutes.
    • Take it with a meal or a snack to prevent upset stomach.
    • Can make you bruise or bleed more easily and it can also cause stomach ulcers.
    • Don't take it with other blood thinners, like aspirin, unless your doctor tells you it's safe.
    • Can hurt your kidneys, so don't use it if you have a history of kidney problems.
    • Starts working in one hour and works best if you take it regularly.
    • Can make you dizzy or drowsy, so avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how this medicine affects you.
    • Take Ultram (Tramadol) with food to avoid an upset stomach.
    • There are different doses for people who are older or who have liver or kidney disease, so work with your doctor to get the right dose.
    • Swallow the extended-release tablets whole. They're designed to release the drug slowly and breaking, crushing, or chewing them could cause a serious overdose.
    Learn more
    More about IbuprofenSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about TramadolSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert