If you're feeling achy or have a headache, Advil and caffeine together may alleviate your discomfort. Advil is the brand name for ibuprofen, a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug used for pain relief. Interestingly, caffeine also seems to have analgesic properties, helping to relieve pain. And combining both caffeine and Advil may be more effective at helping your pain than either one by itself. Talk to your doctor about whether combining Advil with caffeine is appropriate for you, as the combination may increase your likelihood of stomach upset, reflux or excessive caffeine intake.
A Useful Combination
According to a study published in the December 2014 issue of "The Cochrane Library," adding caffeine to Advil had small, but significant, analgesic effects. The type of pain studied was tension headaches and pain after dental surgery or childbirth. The type of caffeine studied was the pill form, but converting this to coffee, the amount of caffeine that was effective was approximately 1 cup of coffee. Advil and caffeine may also relieve the symptoms of acute migraine headaches.
Safety and Concerns
Combining Advil and caffeine may not be appropriate for everyone. Both Advil and caffeine can increase stomach upset and gastroesophageal reflux, so the combination may worsen these symptoms. Furthermore, taking Advil and caffeine together does not reduce caffeine’s stimulant effects, so the combination at bedtime may interfere with your sleep. Remember, too, that any caffeine you consume with Advil will add to your total caffeine intake, so be careful that you do not consume too much. According to the December 2014 issue of "The Cochrane Library," caffeine is generally not harmful if you limit your intake to less than 500 mg, or about 5 cups of coffee, per day.
- Journal of Headache and Pain: High Dietary Caffeine Consumption Is Associated With a Modest Increase in Headache Prevalence: Results from the Head-HUNT Study
- American Family Physician: Caffeine as an Analgesic Adjuvant for Acute Pain in Adults
- Self-Administered Drug Treatments for Acute Migraine Headaches; Rebecca N. Gray, et al.
- The Cochrane Library: Caffeine as an Analgesic Adjuvant for Acute Pain in Adults (Review)
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and sharing her love of food, nutrition and health with anyone who'll listen for almost 20 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and Working Mother.