Ibuprofen is one of the most common forms of over-the-counter medications on the market. It’s usually taken to help reduce pain, inflammation, and fevers. It also goes by other brand names such as Advil and Motrin. What many people may not know is that ibuprofen shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol. Alcohol and ibuprofen can be a risky and potentially dangerous combination.

Mixing alcohol and ibuprofen can create irritation in the stomach lining and the intestines. Along with this, several other side effects can emerge. These effects can range in severity depending on how much alcohol and ibuprofen you consume. It’s important to know the possible risks involved with mixing alcohol and ibuprofen. Let’s take a closer look at this potentially risky combination.

Is it Safe to Mix Alcohol and Ibuprofen?

Alcohol and Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is considered safe when taken with care while following the instructions on the packaging (or a doctor’s orders). As far as safety goes, taking pain relievers like ibuprofen when drinking a little alcohol is considered relatively safe. However, things can become more problematic if you constantly take alcohol and ibuprofen at the same time. You’ll also feel the effects if you drink more than a moderate amount. 

The chance of these side effects increases substantially if you mix ibuprofen with heavy alcohol use (or regularly). The side effects and symptoms vary in discomfort and severity. Ultimately, it’s not recommended in any scenario to mix alcohol and ibuprofen. Below is an in-depth look at some of the side effects associated with mixing alcohol and Advil. 

Kidney Problems

The kidneys are responsible for filtering out harmful substances from the body, including alcohol. As you continue to consume alcohol, your kidneys have to work harder. 

Taking a closer look, ibuprofen and other medication can affect the kidney’s function. Ibuprofen can stop the production of cyclooxygenase (COX), an enzyme that’s essential to the kidneys. Ibuprofen does this to help lower inflammation and pain. Unfortunately, this process also alters how kidneys function (at least for the time being). 

Alcohol on its own can cause several issues on the kidneys as time goes on. If you constantly drink excessively, there’s a chance you’ll eventually develop chronic kidney disease. In fact, this could actually double your chances of developing chronic kidney disease. With this in mind, those who have healthy kidneys may also be affected because of ibuprofen’s effect on the kidney when paired with alcohol. Make sure to consult with your doctor before taking ibuprofen and alcohol. 

Stomach Bleeding and Ulcers

Medication like ibuprofen can create problems in the digestive tract. This is the reason why you should take this medication with food. Using ibuprofen for long periods of time or in large doses increases the risk of bleeding and ulcers in the digestive tract. Alcohol also has a similar effect as it irritates both the stomach and digestive tract as well. As you can imagine, mixing alcohol and ibuprofen only increases the chance of bleeding and ulcers. 

Studies show that ibuprofen can interact with alcohol by worsening the typical side effects of ibuprofen. This can create problems like bleeding, rapid heartbeat, and ulcers among other effects. Going even further, mixing these two creates further issues with bleeding and ulcers. This chance is almost doubled if a person takes ibuprofen or drinks alcohol frequently. 

Drowsiness

In the same realm of shared effects of both alcohol and ibuprofen, both cause drowsiness. Mixing both alcohol and ibuprofen together makes the drowsiness even worse, which can end up affecting how you sleep or function in general. This drowsiness can lead to oversleeping or delayed functions. 

Depending on how much you drink, you may fall into risky behavior. With this in mind, under no circumstance should you ever drink alcohol and drive. Drowsiness is just one of the many effects that make driving a danger to you and drivers around you. Alcohol delays reaction times and creates impaired judgments.

The Risk of Mixing Alcohol and Ibuprofen in Older Adults

Older adults have a much higher risk of side effects when combining alcohol and Advil (or other forms of ibuprofen). This is because with age, the body can begin to function less effectively as time goes on. The body is unable to break down alcohol as effectively later on in life. Additionally, when people grow older they will most likely be taking more medication than before. 

Mixing this new need for medication with alcohol use can be a risky combination, especially if the body is unable to filter out the alcohol from the kidneys. Additionally, there is a higher risk of injury, accidents, or falls as time goes on. 

Taking Ibuprofen Safely

Ibuprofen should always be taken as instructed and only when needed. It’s recommended that you take ibuprofen for the shortest amount of time at the lowest dosage needed. With this in mind, it’s important to know what type of medications have ibuprofen in them. Certain combination medications like Duexis contain ibuprofen. Make sure to always read the labels for the medication you will be taking (especially if combined with alcohol). 

Taking Ibuprofen Safely

Some may use ibuprofen and other medication to soften the blow of a hangover. However, they may still have alcohol in their system when they do so. This may result in a few of the side effects mentioned earlier as the stomach is more sensitive at this time. This is worth noting if you consider using ibuprofen to tame a hangover. 

You can avoid unwanted side effects if you drink alcohol in moderation and in small amounts. For women, this would be around one drink a day and for men, this would be two drinks per day. However, this may vary depending on the drink you are consuming. Certain beers or types of alcohol include much higher levels of alcohol in them. This is why it’s important to drink responsibly and carefully, especially if you’ll be mixing alcohol and ibuprofen. 

Mixing Tylenol and Ibuprofen

What about mixing two medications? Acetaminophen (also known as Tylenol) can be mixed with ibuprofen in some cases. However, just like alcohol and ibuprofen, the dosage is something that should be taken into account. Both of these medications also interact with alcohol to some extent. Both Tylenol and ibuprofen can be used to treat certain levels of pain. It’s important to not mix alcohol, ibuprofen, or Tylenol with each other at high doses; this can create risky and dangerous side effects. 

When You Should See Your Doctor

After looking at some of the potential risks of mixing alcohol with ibuprofen, it’s important to watch out for these signs. Stomach bleeding and potential ulcers may just be the starting signs of more prominent effects. Other side effects of mixing the two together include:

  • Blood in your vomit
  • Stomach pains or cramps that don’t seem to go away
  • Rapid pulse
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Blood in your stool
  • Black or tarry stool
  • Vomit that resembles coffee grounds

These could signal a much more serious situation. If you notice that any of these symptoms have appeared after mixing alcohol and ibuprofen (or other medications), it’s time to get medical attention. Those who have a problem with alcohol use or those who drink excessively (alcoholism) should also reach out for help. 

Spotting an Alcohol Addiction 

alcohol and ibuprofen

If you or a loved one is constantly excessively drinking and has begun to develop an addiction, it may be time to get help. Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), can be a serious situation. This type of disorder can take control of a person’s life making it near impossible to function without alcohol in their system. Losing control of one’s drinking causes many social, mental, and physical problems down the line. 

You or a loved one may also be mixing other medications with alcohol. As discussed, this can cause several problems for the body and can be even more dangerous when paired with other more potent medications/drugs. It’s important to get help sooner than later. If this is a concern, then Harmony Ridge may be able to help. 

At Harmony Ridge, we offer a number of addiction treatment options with you and your loved ones in mind. With comprehensive treatment and help, sobriety is achievable and possible in the future. Don’t let addiction ruin your or a loved one’s life. 

Get Help Today at Harmony Ridge

Mixing alcohol and ibuprofen can lead to possible side effects, depending on the dosage that is taken of each. However, this can become a major issue if alcohol abuse is involved. If you or a loved one is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, Harmony Ridge is ready to help. Contact us today to learn about our treatment options and addiction resources.

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