Compare Tylenol vs. Tramadol

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

Tylenol Regular Strength
(acetaminophen)

Ultram
(tramadol)

Relieves pain and fever. Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) effectively reduces fever and relieves pain, but it doesn't lower inflammation and swelling.Treats moderate to severe pain. Ultram (tramadol) works well for pain. Although it's a little weaker than other opioids, it can still be addictive.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.01Tylenol
Reviews for Tylenol
77%
of people (All ages) say Tylenol is worth it
37%
say it works well
3%
say it's a big hassle
1002 reviews
Have you used Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Tramadol
61%
+16% better vs. Tylenol
40%
-3% worse vs. Tylenol
16%
+13% better vs. Tylenol
642 reviews
Have you used Ultram (tramadol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
TylenolTramadol

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

More about Tylenol side effects »
  • Dyspepsia 5%
  • Dry Mouth 5%
  • Diarrhea 5%
  • Asthenia 6%
  • Sweating 6%
  • CNS Stimulation 7%
  • Pruritus 8%
  • Vomiting 9%
  • Sleepiness 16%
  • Headache 18%
More Tramadol side effects »
How it works
TylenolTramadol
Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) is an analgesic. It relieves pain and lowers fever by stopping the production of certain chemicals in the brain that cause both pain and fever.Ultram (tramadol) is an 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
TylenolTramadol
Over-the-counterLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
TylenolTramadol
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Suppository
  • Injection
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Extended release capsule
  • Dissolving tablet
Used for
TylenolTramadol
Risk factors for serious side effects
TylenolTramadol
  • Medication administering errors
  • Injection formulation
  • Exceeding the recommended maximum daily limits
  • Drinking more than 2 alcoholic beverages a day
  • Taking with other Tylenol-containing medicines
Detailed Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) risks & warnings »
  • Pregnancy
  • Age 65 or greater
  • Overdose
  • Using alcohol, benzodiazepines or other medicines that slow breathing
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
Detailed Ultram (tramadol) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.

Interactions
TylenolTramadol
No interactions related info.
  • Ultram (tramadol) can interact with your other medicines, which can change how it affects your pain. Stopping these medicines while taking Ultram (tramadol) can make you more likely to have serious, life threatening side effects. Make sure your doctor and pharmacist know all the medicines you're taking, and let them know of any changes.
Alcohol
TylenolTramadol
  • Drinking alcohol while taking Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) can damage your liver.
  • Heavy alcohol drinkers and people with liver problems should avoid using Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) since it can cause serious liver damage.
No alcohol related info.
Food
TylenolTramadol
No food related info.
  • Take Ultram (tramadol) with food to avoid an upset stomach.
Kidneys and liver
TylenolTramadol
  • Taking too much acetaminophen causes liver damage that can be permanent and life-threatening. Signs of liver problems may include dark urine, feeling tired, upset stomach or stomach pain, or yellow skin or eyes. If you notice any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately. Avoid drinking alcohol when taking Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen). Avoid using Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) if you have existing liver problems since it can cause further damage.
  • Doesn't cause kidney damage and is also safe to use if you have heart problems or if you're pregnant.
  • To avoid hurting your liver, you need to keep track of the total amount of acetaminophen you are taking since it's a very common ingredient in pain and cold combination medicines.
  • 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.
Pain
TylenolTramadol
  • Works well to relieve pain and fevers.
  • Relieves moderate to severe pain. It has been shown to work as well as other opioid pain medications.
  • The extended release version of Ultram (tramadol) should only be used for severe pain that requires daily, around-the-clock treatment once alternative treatments haven't worked.
Upsides and benefits
TylenolTramadol
  • Works well to relieve pain and fevers.
  • Good for menstrual cramps, toothaches, body aches, and mild arthritis pain.
  • Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) causes less upset stomach, ulcers, bruising, and bleeding than other pain medications like aspirin and Advil.
  • Doesn't cause kidney damage and is also safe to use if you have heart problems or if you're pregnant.
  • Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) has been used 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
TylenolTramadol
  • Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) doesn't treat some kinds of pain as well as other medications like Advil.
  • Drinking alcohol while taking Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) can damage your liver.
  • To avoid hurting your liver, you need to keep track of the total amount of acetaminophen you are taking since it's a very common ingredient in pain and cold combination medicines.
  • Heavy alcohol drinkers and people with liver problems should avoid using Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) since it can cause serious liver damage.
  • Some people think it's weaker than other opioid pain medications. It can also cause more upset stomach.
  • Like other opioid pain relievers, Ultram (tramadol) has a high risk of addiction, abuse, misuse, overdose, and death.
  • The extended release version of Ultram (tramadol) should only be used for severe pain that requires daily, around-the-clock treatment once alternative treatments haven't worked.
  • 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.
  • Like all opioids, don't use when pregnant, since the baby can become dependent on it and have withdrawal symptoms after birth.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
TylenolTramadol
  • Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) starts working within one hour.
  • Taking too much of Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) can cause liver failure and death. Don't take more than what's recommended on the package insert.
  • Acetaminophen is found in many over-the-counter and prescription products. Make sure the total amount of acetaminophen you take does not exceed 3,000 mg per day and check with your pharmacist to make sure you're not taking too much.
  • Follow age-specific dosing instructions on how much to take.
  • Let your doctor know if your symptoms don't improve in a few days.
  • 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.
  • Take the extended-release tablets exactly as your doctor and pharmacist tell you. If you forget, take it as soon as you remember. Don't take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
Learn more
More about TylenolSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about TramadolSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Ultram (tramadol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it