Compare Naproxen vs. Acetaminophen with codeine

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

Aleve
(Naproxen)

Tylenol #3
(Acetaminophen / Codeine)

Relieves pain, fever, and inflammation. Aleve (Naproxen) works well for mild to moderate pain and inflammation, and it lasts longer than other NSAIDs.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
5.279615795090715Naproxen
Reviews for Aleve (Naproxen)
78%
of people say Aleve (Naproxen) is worth it
46%
say it works well
5%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Tylenol #3 (Acetaminophen / Codeine)
70%
8% vs. Aleve (Naproxen)
41%
5% vs. Aleve (Naproxen)
9%
4% vs. Aleve (Naproxen)
Side effects
NaproxenAcetaminophen with codeine

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

More about Naproxen side effects »

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
NaproxenAcetaminophen with codeine
Aleve (Naproxen) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It blocks the inflammation process in your body, which relieves swelling and pain.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
NaproxenAcetaminophen with codeine
Pain reliever
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
Prescription or OTC
Pain reliever
Acetaminophen (APAP)
Opioid
Prescription only
Available as
NaproxenAcetaminophen with codeine
  • Pill
  • Delayed release tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
NaproxenAcetaminophen with codeine
Risk factors for serious side effects
NaproxenAcetaminophen with codeine
  • 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 Aleve (Naproxen) risks & warnings »
Coming soon.
Pregnancy category
NaproxenAcetaminophen with codeine
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
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
  • It needs to be taken with food to avoid getting an upset stomach.
  • Take it with a meal or a snack to prevent 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
  • 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.
  • Aleve (Naproxen) 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 Aleve (Naproxen) for any amount of time.
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
NaproxenAcetaminophen with codeine
  • Works well to relieve pain, swelling, and fevers.
  • Good for menstrual cramps, toothaches, body aches, and mild arthritis pain.
  • Lasts longer than Ibuprofen, so you can take it less often.
  • Aleve (Naproxen) works as well as Aspirin and Indomethacin to treat arthritis pain, and causes fewer stomach problems.
  • Although not without side effects, it's been around for a long time and is generally safe for short-term use.
  • 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
NaproxenAcetaminophen with codeine
  • 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.
  • 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
NaproxenAcetaminophen with codeine
  • Starts relieving pain in 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Take it with a meal or a snack to prevent an 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.
  • 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 NaproxenSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about Acetaminophen with codeineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert