Coincidentally, I’m writing this article with not one, not two but three Advil Liqui-Gels coursing through my body. I imagine that by now, the kryptonite-colored liquid has burst free from its gel larva and begun its march toward suffocating the parts of my body that are causing my head to ache. It should be stated that I’ve been team Advil Liqui-Gel ever since my first drug dealer — aka my mother — handed me my first glistening translucent capsule back in high school. It worked magically then, and it continues to inspire awe, even today.
But have I been played for a fool all these years simply by a jade color that seems practically intergalactic? Am I so deeply ensnared by the liqui(d) and the gel and the green that I’m missing out on the bevy of over the counter pain relief options provided by my lord and savior Big Pharma?
First, let’s better understand what we’re talking about when we talk about over-the-counter pain relief pills. According to WebMD, there are two categories: Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Amongst NSAIDs there are two major categories of drugs — ibuprofen, which is found in Motrin and Advil, or naproxen which is found in Aleve.
As for which pain relievers are for what, it depends on your stomach: Harvard Health suggests using Acetaminophen (Tylenol) to treat mild pain because it’s easier on your stomach than NSAIDs. “The recommended maximum per day is generally set at 4 grams (4,000 milligrams), which is the equivalent of eight extra-strength Tylenol tablets,” they report. On the other hand, NSAIDs are more effective than acetaminophen because they reduce inflammation as well as relieve pain. “But NSAID medications have side effects, the most common is stomach irritation,” explains Harvard Health. “It can also cause stomach and intestinal ulcers, which can lead to internal bleeding.”
In other words, if you’re like me and you just want the mind-numbing headache to disappear as quickly and effectively as possible, NSAIDs are your best bet, in spite of their proclivity to cause internal bleeding.
But now, we return to the initial dilemma: Is there any reason to cough up the extra $3 for a container of Liqui-Gels versus tablets? According to Advil’s website, the only difference between Liqui-Gels and coated tablets is that the gels contain a liquid form of ibuprofen instead of the standard salt form found in Advil Film-Coated Tablets. But while the amount of ibuprofen is the same, the website does note that Liqui-Gels are easier to swallow. “Gelcaps are easier to swallow than hard tablets, though they have to be bigger to fit in the same amount of formula,” Stephen Ross, MD, a family physician at the Santa Monica-University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, told Health.com.
Still, there’s some evidence that those glowing green capsules do, in fact, work a bit faster. Specifically, one 1991 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, looked at 180 patients who had their wisdom teeth removed and were given 400 milligrams of ibuprofen. Some were given gelatin capsules, while others were given the tablets immediately following the dental procedure. “The researchers found ‘no difference’ in the ‘efficacy of the two ibuprofen preparations,’ though the tablet did have a ‘slightly earlier onset of action,’” reports attn. “Ibuprofen in gelatin capsules seems to take effect four to six minutes faster.”
To that end, the same article notes that in 2001, German researchers confirmed the findings from the 1991 study and found that while the gelatin capsule did release faster, the quicker release didn’t have an affect on the overall absorption of the ibuprofen.
All of which fills me and my bludgeoned stomach with vindication that the gels are more effective than the tablets in quelling my pain — even if only by a margin of minutes.
Ah yes, I can feel it now: Sweet, sweet emerald gel relief!
- The one-two pain reliever scam
- Advil Liqui-Gels
- Uses of Advil Liqui-Gels:
- What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Advil Liqui-Gels?
- What are some things I need to know or do while I take Advil Liqui-Gels?
- How is this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) best taken?
- What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
- What are some other side effects of Advil Liqui-Gels?
- If OVERDOSE is suspected:
- How do I store and/or throw out Advil Liqui-Gels?
- Consumer information use
- Further information
- More about Advil Liqui-Gels (ibuprofen)
- Is there any benefit to eating pain pills that are in liquid gel form instead of normal pills?
- Other studies examining the efficacy of different pill and vitamin preparations have arrived at similar conclusions, according to Consumer Reports.
- Would you spend more money on a liquid gel capsule?
- Aleve 220mg Liquid Gel Capsules, 160 ct.
- Liquid-Filled Capsules vs Tablet Pills ( Uncoated vs Coated)
- Liquid Filled Capsules vs Tablets
- What are Liquid-Filled Capsules
- What are Tablet Pills
- Medication Abuse and Abuse-Deterrent Tablet Forms
- ELI5: What is the point of having the same drug (Advil, for example) in tablets, capsules, and caplets? It’s the exact same thing, isn’t it?
Andrew Fiouzi is a staff writer at MEL.
The one-two pain reliever scam
Today’s New York Times has an article about a new marketing campaign for Aleve (requires registration) for Aleve Liquid Gels. But buying Aleve Liquid Gels is basically falling for two scams at once! The same as if you were to buy Advil Liqui-Gels or Tylenol Rapid Release Gels.
The first scam is the brand name scam. Aleve is the brand name for naproxen; Advil for ibuprofen; and Tylenol for acetaminophen. Why anyone would pay for the brand name product when the shelves adjacent to them contain the equally effective generic product for a fraction of the price is beyond me. And your pharmacy makes it easy for you to find the generic product. It’s right next to the brand name one! Just look for the generic name: naproxen, ibuprofen or acetaminophen. All the major chain pharmacies have their own line of generic products; many even have little signs that say “compare to brand name X.” And all you need to compare is the price.
The second scam is the formulation scam. Do you really think there’s any difference among tablets, capsules, gel caps, liquid gels, or whatever other new twist they come up with in terms of the product’s effectiveness? Well there isn’t. Now it may be true that some people find one or another of these formulations easier to swallow, but they have to be willing to swallow the higher price too. And even then, we still go back to scam number one, which is that most of these alternative formulations are also available as generics for less.
Consider the number of advertisements you see on TV and in magazines for Aleve, Advil and Tylenol in all their various formulations. Think about all the hundreds of millions of dollars they cost. Then consider that the price of these brand name products has to cover the cost of the ads plus the profit margin. And believe me, there’s a nice profit margin. If you want to pay for that, go right ahead. If not, remember a few generic names.
And the new Aleve campaign? It’s a form of promotion called viral marketing. They are targeting younger people who like to use the Internet and hoping this “experience” will get them to buy Aleve Liquid Gels. It’s kind of indirect marketing. If you visit the website and complete the experience — it only takes a minute or so — Bayer, the sponsor, will make a $5-$10 donation to a nonprofit called The Conservation Fund. I just did it and they encourage all completers to tell their friends. So I’m telling you. Just visit . But remember, Aleve = naproxen. If you complete the web experience and still buy generic you can perform a reverse one-two scam by having the company make a charitable donation for you at no cost while you save money at the store by buying generic.
Generic Name: Ibuprofen Capsules (eye byoo PROE fen)
Brand Name: Advil Liqui-Gels
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Aug 15, 2019.
- Side Effects
- This medicine may raise the risk of heart and blood vessel problems like heart attack and stroke. These effects can be deadly. The risk may be greater if you have heart disease or risks for heart disease. However, it can also be raised even if you do not have heart disease or risks for heart disease. The risk can happen within the first weeks of using this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) and may be greater with higher doses or long-term use. Do not use this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) right before or after bypass heart surgery.
- This medicine may raise the chance of severe and sometimes deadly stomach or bowel problems like ulcers or bleeding. The risk is greater in older people, and in people who have had stomach or bowel ulcers or bleeding before. These problems may occur without warning signs.
Uses of Advil Liqui-Gels:
- It is used to ease pain, swelling, and fever.
- It is used to ease painful period (menstrual) cycles.
- It is used to treat arthritis.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Advil Liqui-Gels?
- If you have an allergy to ibuprofen, aspirin, NSAIDS, or any other part of this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels).
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you have ever had asthma caused by a salicylate drug like aspirin or a drug like this one like NSAIDs.
- If you have any of these health problems: GI (gastrointestinal) bleeding or kidney problems.
- If you have heart failure (weak heart).
- If you have had a recent heart attack.
- If you are taking any other NSAID, a salicylate drug like aspirin, or pemetrexed.
- If you are having trouble getting pregnant or you are having your fertility checked.
- If you are pregnant or may be pregnant. Do not take this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) if you are in the third trimester of pregnancy. You may also need to avoid this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) at other times during pregnancy. Talk with your doctor to see when you need to avoid taking this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) during pregnancy.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels).
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Advil Liqui-Gels?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Have your blood work checked if you are on this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) for a long time. Talk with your doctor.
- High blood pressure has happened with drugs like this one. Have your blood pressure checked as you have been told by your doctor.
- Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol.
- If you smoke, talk with your doctor.
- If you have asthma, talk with your doctor. You may be more sensitive to this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels).
- Do not take more than what your doctor told you to take. Taking more than you are told may raise your chance of very bad side effects.
- Do not take this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) for longer than you were told by your doctor.
- You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
- The chance of heart failure is raised with the use of drugs like this one. In people who already have heart failure, the chance of heart attack, having to go to the hospital for heart failure, and death is raised. Talk with the doctor.
- The chance of heart attack and heart-related death is raised in people taking drugs like this one after a recent heart attack. People taking drugs like this one after a first heart attack were also more likely to die in the year after the heart attack compared with people not taking drugs like this one. Talk with the doctor.
- If you are taking aspirin to help prevent a heart attack, talk with your doctor.
- This medicine may raise the chance of a very bad brain problem called aseptic meningitis. Call your doctor right away if you have a headache, fever, chills, very upset stomach or throwing up, stiff neck, rash, bright lights bother your eyes, feeling sleepy, or feeling confused.
- Liver problems have happened with drugs like this one. Sometimes, this has been deadly. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- If you are 60 or older, use this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) with care. You could have more side effects.
- NSAIDs like this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) may affect egg release (ovulation) in women. This may cause you to not be able to get pregnant. This goes back to normal when this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) is stopped. Talk with your doctor.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels), call your doctor right away.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
How is this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) best taken?
Use this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take with or without food. Take with food if it causes an upset stomach.
- Take with a full glass of water.
- Swallow whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- If you take this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) on a regular basis, take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- Many times this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels) is taken on an as needed basis. Do not take more often than told by the doctor.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of bleeding like throwing up or coughing up blood; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; abnormal vaginal bleeding; bruises without a cause or that get bigger; or bleeding you cannot stop.
- Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
- Signs of high potassium levels like a heartbeat that does not feel normal; feeling confused; feeling weak, lightheaded, or dizzy; feeling like passing out; numbness or tingling; or shortness of breath.
- Signs of high blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
- Shortness of breath, a big weight gain, or swelling in the arms or legs.
- Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
- Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Ringing in ears.
- Very bad back pain.
- Change in eyesight.
- A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
What are some other side effects of Advil Liqui-Gels?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Belly pain or heartburn.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Diarrhea or constipation.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Advil Liqui-Gels?
- Store at room temperature.
- Protect from light.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about this medicine (Advil Liqui-Gels), please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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Is there any benefit to eating pain pills that are in liquid gel form instead of normal pills?
Actually, liquid gels may work faster vs a tablet. In the example of advil (ibuprofen) liquid gels vs ibuprofen tablets. The acids in your stomach that breaks down everything you eat will break down the gel capsule slightly quicker than it will dissolve a tablet and that will allow the liquid medicine to absorb into your system quicker. It still won’t be an immediate pain relief, however, it should work a little faster.
I’ve also been told that some tablet pills may not dissolve completely and therefore you aren’t getting all of the medicine. I suggest liquid gels.
I have used both of them for sinus headaches and sinus migraines before and the liquid gels do work a bit faster. The tablets take, for me, about 30 – 45 minutes to start helping and the liquid gels take about 15 – 20 minutes.
I hope this helps.
DISCLAIMER: I am a Pre-Med student. All of my advice comes from my own experience as a chronic illness patient and various medical articles I have read in research. I am NOT a doctor and am not a medical student. I am not qualified to give official medical advice or treatment.
Results of the two pharmacokinetic studies presented here demonstrate that this novel formulation of IBUNa was absorbed at a rate faster than standard IBU tablets and was comparable with rates of other fast-absorbed IBU formulations. IBUNa was bioequivalent to IBULG, IBUFG, and IBULys in terms of both the rate and extent of absorption in the fasted state. T max was approximately 5–10 min faster with IBUNa than IBULG in the fasted state. Feeding had a similar effect on the rate of absorption of both IBUNa and IBULG, as both C max and T max were similar between the two formulations in both the fasted and fed states. IBUNa was absorbed to the same extent as standard IBU when administered as IBUMot, IBUAdv, and IBUNur, but was absorbed more rapidly, with T max values of 30–35 min versus 120, 82.5, and 120 min, respectively. All IBU treatments were well tolerated.
IBU formulations that employ IBU dissolved in a gelatin capsule or conjugated to a salt allow healthy subjects to more rapidly absorb the product and in this way improve upon the relatively low solubility of standard tablets that are composed of IBU free acid. Since IBU is almost entirely absorbed, faster absorption does not increase the extent of absorption; hence, overall IBU exposure is similar to that of standard IBU, as shown in previous studies . Pharmacodynamic investigations have demonstrated that faster absorption of IBU arginate is associated with a faster onset of analgesia compared with standard IBU tablets . Furthermore, in a study modeling the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of an effervescent formulation of IBU, faster absorption of that formulation was also associated with faster onset of analgesia in patients with dental pain compared with standard IBU .
Similarly, IBUNa tablets have been designed with this same goal in mind. IBU is a carboxylic acid that does not rapidly dissolve in an acidic aqueous environment such as that of the stomach . In vitro investigations have shown a significantly faster rate of dissolution for IBUNa compared with standard IBU tablets at acidic pH levels . The current findings demonstrate that these novel IBUNa tablets, which have a thin-film coating and are manufactured using a patent-pending process, provide faster absorption with a more rapid attainment of peak IBU plasma concentrations compared with standard IBU tablets. Under fasted conditions, C max for IBUNa was approximately 30 % greater and T max occurred roughly 1–1.5 h sooner than for standard IBU tablets. Importantly, AUCL values for IBUNa and each of the standard IBU tablets tested were similar, indicating that conjugation of IBU with sodium salt does not alter the extent of IBU absorption and yields overall IBU exposure similar to conventional IBU tablets.
Our results are consistent with those of previous pharmacokinetic evaluations of older formulations of IBUNa. In a pair of open-label, randomized, single-dose, crossover studies conducted in healthy volunteers, Sorgel et al. compared the pharmacokinetics of IBUNa with those of standard IBU tablets, IBULys, and IBULG (first study), as well as with IBUArg and IBULys (second study). These studies have shown that IBUNa had a significantly higher C max (47.6 vs. 36.8 µg/mL, P < 0.01) and shorter T max (0.6 vs. 1.4 h, P = 0.018) compared with standard IBU tablets and had no significant differences in absorption rate compared with IBULys, IBUArg, or IBULG . Similarly, Dewland et al. compared the single-dose pharmacokinetics (400-mg equivalents) of IBUNa with those of a novel IBU/poloxamer formulation and standard IBU tablets in healthy volunteers. While the overall extent of absorption was similar for all of the formulations, T max averaged 55 min shorter with IBUNa compared with standard IBU tablets (median of 35 vs. 90 min, respectively; P < 0.0002), and C max was approximately 30 % higher (41.47 vs. 31.88 µg/mL, respectively). It is worth noting that the T max values for IBUNa across both the current and previous pharmacokinetic studies are comparable—between 30 and 36 min.
Patients suffering from acute pain desire pain relief as quickly as possible. Previous studies have shown that the rate and extent of IBU absorption may be impaired during pain episodes when IBU is taken in its standard oral formulation, but that fast-dissolving IBU formulations fare much better in this regard . The current investigation did not characterize the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic profile of analgesia following IBUNa administration. However, a clinical efficacy study using this same IBUNa formulation found it to provide a faster onset of analgesia compared with standard IBU in subjects with dental pain . In that 8-h inpatient study examining the effect of the current IBUNa formulation on postsurgical dental pain using the third molar dental extraction model, IBUNa was associated with a significantly earlier time to meaningful pain relief (median 42.4 min) in comparison with placebo (>8 h, P < 0.001), pooled IBUAdv/IBUMot (median 55.3 min, P < 0.001), and IBUMot (median 60.7 min, P < 0.001) and was marginally faster than IBUAdv (median 52.0 min, P = 0.075) .
Two other randomized studies using previous IBUNa formulations in the third molar extraction model of dental pain showed similar findings . In the QUIKK trial, first perceptible pain relief occurred 6 min earlier (P = 0.004) with a previous IBUNa formulation than with standard IBU tablets according to stopwatch assessments, although the time to substantial pain relief was not significantly different between the formulations . Patient diary assessments indicated that significantly more patients treated with IBUNa reported “some” to “complete” pain relief at 15 min (43 vs. 29 % for standard IBU tablets, P < 0.001) and at 30 min (82 vs. 63 %, P < 0.001) .
In a study by Schleier et al. , the first sign of perceptible pain relief occurred within 15 min for 52.5 % of patients treated with a previous IBUNa formulation vs. 35.9 % of those treated with standard IBU tablets (P < 0.001). Substantial pain relief was attained after a median of 42 versus 56 min with IBUNa versus standard IBU . In addition, reduction in pain intensity occurred to a greater degree and was faster with IBUNa, such that pain intensity was reduced by 50 % after an average of 30 min with IBUNa versus 57 min with standard IBU tablets (P < 0.02) . Taken together, these data indicate that the faster absorption achieved with various formulations of IBUNa translates into more rapid pain relief.
The current studies are limited in that they were performed in healthy volunteers, and therefore, the results obtained may not be generalizable to those with underlying comorbidities or to those with active pain. A previous study found that pain was associated with an inhibition of absorption of IBU and a decrease in the conversion of racemic IBU to the active S-(+) enantiomer . Nonetheless, data from clinical studies utilizing the dental pain model have shown a more rapid onset of analgesia with this novel IBUNa formulation as well as previous formulations of IBUNa versus standard IBU formulations, suggesting that although the absorption and conversion of racemic IBU to the active S-(+) enantiomer with this formulation may be delayed by pain, the faster-absorbed formulation still provides faster onset of analgesia than standard formulations in the presence of pain. Lastly, because subjects were not allowed to take concomitant medications while participating in these studies, the potential for drug–drug interactions could not be assessed. However, these would be expected to be the same as those known for standard IBU.
When you visit a pharmacy, there are dozens of over-the-counter painkillers to choose from. But does spending an extra dollar on a bottle of liquid gel capsules — as opposed to standard tablets — really mean faster and more effective pain relief?
Maxpixel – freegreatpicture.com
There’s not a whole lot of research investigating this question. But the studies that have compared the efficacy of different pills forms seem to indicate that both types work just as well, as long as they have the same amount of the active ingredient. For consumers, that might come as a surprise considering how liquid gels are marketed.
Take Advil, for example. The active ingredient in Advil is ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Advil Liqui-Gels are marketed in a way that suggests the capsules provide noticeably superior pain relief. But a 1991 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, arrived at a different conclusion.
For the study, 180 patients who had their wisdom teeth surgically removed were given 400 milligrams of ibuprofen — either in its traditional soluble form or in a gelatin capsule — immediately following the dental procedure. The researchers found “no difference” in the “efficacy of the two ibuprofen preparations,” though the tablet did have a “slightly earlier onset of action.” Ibuprofen in gelatin capsules seems to take effect four to six minutes faster.
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Other studies examining the efficacy of different pill and vitamin preparations have arrived at similar conclusions, according to Consumer Reports.
In 2001, German researchers determined that ibuprofen administered in a gelatin capsule did release faster, but noted that a a quicker release did not affect the overall absorption of the pill.
So is going for the liquid gel capsules worth the extra three to five cents per pill?
That depends. From a clinical perspective, liquid gels do seem to be absorbed faster, if only by a few minutes. But there is one other factor take into consideration: some people find it easier to swallow painkillers in gel capsule form compared to chalky tablets. In terms of overall pain relief, though, both versions will do the trick.
Share your opinion
Would you spend more money on a liquid gel capsule?
Yes 37%No 63%
Aleve 220mg Liquid Gel Capsules, 160 ct.
*Based on menstrual and dental pain studies
This product contains an NSAID, which may cause severe stomach bleeding. The chance is higher if you: are age 60 or older, have had stomach ulcers or bleeding problems, take a blood thinning (anticoagulant) or steroid drug, take other drugs containing prescription or nonprescription NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or others), have 3 or more alcoholic drinks every day while using this product, take more or for a longer time than directed. Do not use if: you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other pain reliever/fever reducer, or right before or after heart surgery. Ask a doctor before use if: the stomach bleeding warning applies to you, you have a history of stomach problems such as heartburn, you have high blood pressure, heart disease, liver cirrhosis, or kidney disease, you are taking a diuretic, you have problems or serious side effects from taking pain relievers or fever reducers, or you have asthma. Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if you are: under a doctor’s care for any serious condition, or you are taking any other drug. When using this product: take with food or milk if stomach upset occurs, the risk of heart attack or stroke may increase if you use more than directed or for longer than directed. Stop use and ask a doctor if: you experience any of the following signs of stomach bleeding: feel faint, vomit blood, have bloody or black stools, have stomach pain that does not get better, pain gets worse or lasts more than 10 days, fever gets worse or lasts more than 3 days, you have difficulty swallowing, it feels like the pill is stuck in your throat, redness or swelling is present in the painful area, or any new symptoms appear. If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before use. It is especially important not to use naproxen sodium during the last 3 months of pregnancy unless definitely directed to do so by a doctor because it may cause problems in the unborn child or complications during delivery. Keep out of reach of children. In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.
Liquid-Filled Capsules vs Tablet Pills ( Uncoated vs Coated)
Liquid Filled Capsules vs Tablets
Liquid-filled capsules tend to be absorbed sooner than tablet pills; therefore, they begin working faster. This is because the body needs nutrients to be suspended in some form of a liquid before it can begin breaking them down and using them. When a capsule is already in liquid form, all the body has to do is break down the coating surrounding the liquid and then it can absorb the contents. Tablet pills will have to be broken down completely first, which can take longer.
On average, a liquid filled capsule may be broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream in only a few minutes while it can take 20-30 minutes for a tablet pill to be absorbed. For this reason, liquid-filled capsules are generally considered to be faster-acting and often more powerful than tablet pills. The contents may also be more completely absorbed than those of tablet pills. Liquid-filled capsules may also wear off more quickly, however. Liquid and coated tablet pills are generally easier to swallow than uncoated tablet pills and may not cause as much as an aftertaste or bad taste in the mouth.
Both liquid-filled capsules and tablet pills may be abused and used for nonmedical, or recreational, purposes. Liquid-filled capsules are generally swallowed as they take rapid effect this way. While tablet pills may be also be swallowed, this method will take longer to get high than chewing them or crushing the tablets to be injected, snorted, or smoked.
Any use of a medication without a necessary and legitimate prescription is a form of drug abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that around 20 percent of adults in the United States have abused a prescription drug at some point in their lifetime. In fact, NIDA warns that over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs are the third most commonly abused substances in America; only alcohol and marijuana have higher abuse rates.
What are Liquid-Filled Capsules
Liquid-filled capsules generally come in two main forms: those with hard shells and soft gel capsules. The hard-shelled capsules are typically formed in two pieces that are then fastened together with the liquid and active ingredients in the middle. Soft gel capsules are coated with a gelatin that consists primarily of a type of protein (usually derived from animals) that is easily digested in the intestinal tract. These soft gels are quickly broken down in the body; thus, the liquid contents reach the bloodstream very soon after ingestion. Soft gels also allow for the particles contained in the capsules to be smaller, the journal Natural Products Insider publishes, which can also make it easier for the body to absorb the medication and use it more effectively and quickly. Soft gel capsules are easy to swallow and have virtually no taste to them as well.
Liquid capsules may have a shorter shelf-life and expire sooner than tablets, and they may also have more synthetic ingredients as the particles contained in the liquid will need to be manufactured in a lab in very small sizes in order to work as intended. Liquid capsule active ingredients may not be as long-lasting as their tablet counterparts either.
Hard-shelled capsules have many advantages too. For instance, the liquid-filled hard capsule (LFHC) technology allows for dual-action drugs, or even for two different compounds, to be contained inside and delivered with a specialized delivery system. Medications can be manufactured to have a time-release component so the drug is slowly released into the bloodstream in a particular timeframe. This can be helpful for people who need pain relief around the clock, for instance.
These medications are vacuum-sealed inside the hard shell of the capsule and thus safe from the air and sunlight. They are also leak- and tamper-proof. If these capsules are penetrated, the liquid will spill out, and it will be evident that they were tampered with. Liquid-filled capsules can still be abused, however.
What are Tablet Pills
Tablets are made from granulate or powder ingredients that are tightly pressed together during manufacturing to make a hard pill. Typically, these medications will contain one or two active ingredients and then several excipients, which are additives and substances that help to hold the pill together. Tablet pills may then have more additives and non-active ingredients than liquid capsules.
Tablets can be either coated with a sugar or film coating, or uncoated. Uncoated tablets are rougher, may be more difficult to swallow, and often leave a bad taste in the mouth when swallowed. A coated tablet generally goes down easier and with less aftertaste.
The coating on tablets can do more than just mask the taste; some pills are coated with a substance that protects them from the gastric acid produced in the stomach so they will not be broken down until they reach the small intestine. The journal Informed Health Online reports that tablets are fairly easy to make and they can keep for long time.
Tablets may also be easily abused. They may be swallowed and taken in higher doses more often than prescribed or without a prescription altogether. Tablets may also be chewed or, perhaps more frequently, crushed and the resulting powder can then be snorted, smoked, or dissolved in liquid and injected. This can be very dangerous as it bypasses the intended release method of the tablet; instead of the active ingredients being absorbed through the gastric system slowly, they now are sent straight into the bloodstream. If the drug has any time-release functions, these are circumvented, increasing the risk for a potentially fatal drug overdose.
The additives and excipients may also have negative side effects when taken in this manner. Many of these non-active ingredients are not meant to enter into the bloodstream at all, and introducing them in this manner may have life-threatening consequences. Tablets may contain artificial flavorings, colors, and preservatives that individuals may react to as well.
Medication Abuse and Abuse-Deterrent Tablet Forms
Over 7 percent of Americans (aged 12 and older) abused a psychotherapeutic drug in 2014, NIDA reports.
Nonmedical use of a prescription or over-the-counter drug is considered abuse and may take the following forms:
- Using a medication between doses
- Continuing to take a medication after a prescription runs out or beyond its medical need
- Taking more than the recommended or prescribed dose at one time
- Exaggerating symptoms to receive a prescription
- “Shopping” different doctors to fill prescriptions
- Altering the medication to take it in a manner other than intended
- Taking a medication for its mind-altering effects
Both liquid-filled and tablet pills can be abused; however, tablets may be more easily tampered with to inject, smoke, or snort the medication than capsules are. Manufacturers of many tablets containing controlled substances have invested in abuse-deterrent methods, however, which are intended to make tablets harder to tamper with and abuse. The popular painkiller OxyContin (oxycodone), for example, is now made with a plastic polymer that is impervious to crushing, and if dissolved for injection, it turns into a non-injectable gel, Business Insider explains. While these drugs may still be abused by ingestion, it does appear that abuse of them has declined with the introduction of abuse-deterrent formulations.
Individuals may instead be turning to other more accessible drug forms, such as heroin or other medications that are not made the same way. Prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse is a national epidemic with far-reaching consequences. There is help available, however. Specialized addiction treatment programs can provide individuals and families with supportive and professional care for sustained recovery.
Prescription Drug Categories
ELI5: What is the point of having the same drug (Advil, for example) in tablets, capsules, and caplets? It’s the exact same thing, isn’t it?
Also, the more varieties of a product you make the more you can elbow your competitors off the shelf — especially if you’re part of a larger company who sells many products to a store.
For example, you make a pain reliever and you’re now selling it in gummy form in addition to 3 other forms, and you also sell the drug store your antacid brand, and cold medicine, and shampoo, and bar soap (look at the breadth of products a John & Johnson or Unilever sell). You demand they carry all 4 version of pain reliever or you’ll stop selling them the high margin cold medicine, or you’ll stop doing coupon promos for the shampoo, etc. So they carry your 4th variety and give you another section of shelf space and bump some smaller brand off the shelf. Same goes for all the various bottle sizes. given the long expiration dates on drugs, do we really need 8 different bottle sizes each costing $1 more than the next? But 32 versions of Advil mean fewer slots for Midol.