Can you mix Ibuprofen and Alcohol?
Ibuprofen and alcohol. You can easily find ibuprofen in any household medicine cabinet at home. You can easily find a variety pack of alcoholic seltzers across many household refrigerators. Both ibuprofen and alcohol are common and easily accessible substances.
Over the counter pain medications such as ibuprofen are common drugs that can be found at local pharmacy stores and grocery stores. In the form and amount normally sold in retail stores, ibuprofen is generally safe for the treatment of pain relief. Alcoholic beverages such as liquor, wine, and seltzers are also widely available for retail consumption. Though there are restrictions, it is generally easily attainable and plays a significant role in social activities in many cultures.
These substances are so common that taking them simultaneously is often unintentional and coincidental. Every day people don’t often think about the risks or potential risks of taking both substances at the same time. Can you mix ibuprofen and alcohol? Is there an alcohol and ibuprofen interaction?
What happens if you mix Alcohol and Ibuprofen?
Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) over the counter pain medication. It is often used to relieve pain, swelling, fever and inflammation. Brand names of the drug include Advil, Midol and Motrin. For stronger dosages, prescription strength ibuprofen is also available.
General and occasional usage of ibuprofen and alcohol isn’t life-threatening. Ironically, ibuprofen is commonly used to help people recover from the discomforts of alcohol-induced hangovers. However, excessive usage of ibuprofen with the added usage of alcohol can worsen the side effects produced by both substances. It can put people at a higher risk for negative interactions between the two substances.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an alcohol and ibuprofen interaction can cause further aggravation of medical conditions such as liver toxicity, kidney damage and gastrointestinal issues.
Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs are known to irritate the GI tract. Consistent use of NSAIDs produces irritation of the stomach lining and can lead to the development of gastritis and other stomach conditions. For long-time users of ibuprofen, the medication can cause risks of peptic ulcers, GI bleeding, and gastric mucosa.
Peptic ulcers occur when acid from the stomach begins to damage the lining of the digestive tract. This causes painful sores that can become inflamed and infected. Evidence has proven that this condition is worsened when adding alcohol. In severe cases, it can lead to GI bleeding.
Symptoms of GI bleeding include:
- Stomach pain
- Bloody vomit
- Red, black or tarry stool
- Loss of appetite
Another symptom of Ibuprofen and alcohol misuse is the damaging of the gastric mucosa. The gastric mucosa is the inner lining of the stomach. When that lining is damaged, it can also cause bleeding that progress into stomach ulcers.
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The risks for increased liver damage are further heightened with the combination of alcohol and ibuprofen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heavy alcohol use can lead to liver disease. Heavy usage of ibuprofen is also a substance that causes significant damage to the liver.
Fatty liver disease, liver cirrhosis, liver scarring and acute liver failure are common side effects of heavy ibuprofen and alcohol use.
Symptoms of heavy liver damage include:
- Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
- Upper right stomach pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine and pale stool
Kidney damage and dysfunction are common side effects of mixing ibuprofen and alcohol. One common condition is called acute kidney injury (AKI). AKI is a condition in which the kidneys are unable to filter waste from the blood. Heavy NSAID usage affects the kidney’s ability to filter out the blood. When alcohol is introduced into the bloodstream, the kidney is unable to properly filter out harmful substances such as alcohol from the body.
The mixture of the two substances can also increase the risk of developing nephrosclerosis. This is a condition also known as acute tubular necrosis. It is when tiny ducts within the kidneys begin to collapse due to poor tissue health. In serious cases, this will lead to kidney failure.
Symptoms of Kidney damage include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Leg or ankle swelling
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain and pressure
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How to responsibly use ibuprofen and alcohol
Alcohol can live in your body for about 25 hours after the last drink was consumed. It is recommended to wait at least 24 hours after the last alcoholic beverage to take NSAID medications like ibuprofen to avoid harsh interactions.
Ibuprofen works in the body for an average of 4-6 hours. And it can take about 10 hours or so for your body to break down the medication. During this time alcohol should be avoided.
If mixing ibuprofen and alcohol become more than an occasional occurrence, professional alcohol and substance use disorder treatment should be considered. Hotel California by the Sea offers an alcohol use disorder program and a substance use disorder treatment. Oftentimes, patients arrive with a diagnosis of polysubstance use and co-occurring mental health conditions. The drug and alcohol rehab program understands that addiction can be a very complex disease.
Hotel California by the Sea provides a wide range of programs to treat patients with substance addiction. Intensive therapies such as CBT, DBT and EMDR therapy help patients understand the root causes of their addiction. Additional social services such as family programming and career planning also provide added support as clients heal and transition into independent life. Addiction recovery is an intricate journey in which every client will receive the necessary tools and resources to achieve.