Is it safe to mix ibuprofen and alcohol?

Many individuals are conscious that taking ibuprofen similtaneously alcohol will not be at all times protected, however what are the dangers, and when is it harmful?

Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter treatment that folks use to scale back ache, irritation, and fever. It’s obtainable below numerous model names, similar to Advil and Motrin, and in some mixture medicines for colds and the flu.

Alcohol and ibuprofen can each irritate the liner of the abdomen and intestines. Mixing the 2 could cause uncomfortable side effects that modify in severity from delicate to critical relying on the dose and the way a lot alcohol an individual ingests.

On this article, we talk about the protection and dangers of taking ibuprofen and alcohol collectively. We additionally cowl different uncomfortable side effects of ibuprofen.

Is it protected to drink alcohol and take ibuprofen?

Wine being poured into glass combining alcohol with ibuprofen

An individual could expertise uncomfortable side effects when mixing alcohol and ibuprofen.

Ibuprofen is often protected if an individual follows a health care provider’s directions and the really useful dosage on the packaging.

In line with the Nationwide Well being Service (NHS) in the UK, it’s often protected to make use of ache relievers, together with ibuprofen, when ingesting a small quantity of alcohol.

Nevertheless, individuals can expertise mild-to-serious uncomfortable side effects in the event that they take ibuprofen commonly and drink greater than a reasonable quantity of alcohol, which is one drink for girls and two drinks for males per day. The probability of experiencing uncomfortable side effects is especially excessive with long-term use of ibuprofen, or common, heavy alcohol use.

The next sections talk about the well being dangers referring to taking ibuprofen and alcohol on the similar time.

Abdomen ulcers and bleeding

Ibuprofen can irritate the digestive tract, which is why docs inform individuals to take this treatment with meals. When an individual takes ibuprofen for an prolonged interval or in excessive doses, it will possibly enhance their threat of gastric ulcers or bleeding within the digestive tract.

Alcohol can even irritate the abdomen and digestive tract. Mixing the 2 additional will increase the danger of ulcers and bleeding.

The Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH) state that ibuprofen can work together with alcohol, which may worsen the standard uncomfortable side effects of ibuprofen. These uncomfortable side effects can embody bleeding, ulcers, and a fast heartbeat.

Analysis reveals that each ingesting alcohol and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDs), which is the category of drug that features ibuprofen, are threat elements for abdomen ulcer bleeding.

The chance of abdomen ulcer bleeding will increase the longer an individual takes ibuprofen. An individual who takes ibuprofen day-after-day for a number of months has the next threat of this symptom than somebody who takes ibuprofen as soon as per week.

Kidney issues

The kidneys filter dangerous substances from the physique, together with alcohol. The extra alcohol that an individual drinks, the tougher the kidneys should work.

Ibuprofen and different NSAIDs have an effect on kidney operate as a result of they cease the manufacturing of an enzyme within the kidneys known as cyclooxygenase (COX). By limiting the manufacturing of COX, ibuprofen lowers irritation and ache. Nevertheless, this additionally adjustments how nicely the kidneys can do their job as filters, at the least briefly.

Alcohol places further pressure on the kidneys. The Nationwide Kidney Basis say that common heavy ingesting doubles the danger of an individual creating persistent kidney illness.

Though the danger of kidney issues is low in wholesome individuals who solely sometimes take ibuprofen, the drug will be harmful for individuals who have already got lowered kidney operate.

Individuals who have a historical past of kidney issues ought to ask a health care provider earlier than taking ibuprofen with alcohol.

Elevated drowsiness

Individually, each alcohol and ibuprofen could cause drowsiness. Combining the 2 could make this drowsiness worse, which may result in extreme sleepiness or an incapacity to operate usually.

The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) state that it’s by no means protected to drink alcohol and drive. The rationale for that is that alcohol slows down response occasions and impairs coordination.

Dangers in older adults

The Nationwide Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism report that older adults have a larger threat of problems referring to mixing treatment and alcohol. The chance is larger as a result of an individual’s physique turns into much less capable of break down alcohol with age.

Persons are additionally typically more likely to take extra medicines that would work together with alcohol as they become old.

The authors of a research on drug-alcohol interactions state that almost all older adults within the U.S. use prescription or nonprescription medicines, and greater than 50 % drink alcohol commonly. Consuming alcohol whereas taking treatment places older adults at larger threat of falls, different accidents, and adversarial drug interactions.

Methods to take ibuprofen safely

Ibuprofen is not suitable for long term pain relief.

Ibuprofen will not be appropriate for long-term ache reduction.

Folks ought to take ibuprofen for the shortest potential time on the lowest manageable dosage. A health care provider can present recommendation on protected long-term strategies of ache administration.

Some mixture medicines, similar to chilly medicines, headache medicines, and prescription ache relievers, comprise ibuprofen. Due to this fact, you will need to learn the labels on all medicines earlier than taking them to keep away from exceeding the protected quantity of ibuprofen.

Folks must also be cautious about taking ibuprofen to ease a hangover, as they might nonetheless have alcohol remaining of their system. The abdomen can also be extra delicate than standard presently.

Consuming alcohol solely sparsely can stop undesirable uncomfortable side effects. In line with the CDC, reasonable ingesting means a most of 1 drink for girls and two drinks for males per day.

They state that every of the next counts as one alcoholic drink:

  • a 12-ounce (oz) beer that accommodates 5 % alcohol
  • eight ozof malt liquor that accommodates 7 % alcohol
  • 5 ozof wine that accommodates 12 % alcohol
  • 1.5 ozor a “shot” of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquors, similar to gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey, that comprise 40 % alcohol

The quantity of alcohol within the drink issues. As an example, some forms of beer and wine have larger alcohol content material than others. Some forms of liquor are additionally stronger than others.

Beer and wine aren’t any safer to drink than liquor, together with with regards to taking ibuprofen.

Preserving alcohol consumption inside the really useful limits will cut back the danger of undesirable uncomfortable side effects, similar to abdomen bleeding and ulcers.

When to see a health care provider

Individuals who take ibuprofen commonly ought to look ahead to signs of abdomen bleeding and ulcers, which can embody:

  • abdomen ache or cramps that don’t go away
  • blood within the vomit
  • vomit that resembles espresso grounds
  • blood within the stool
  • stool that appears black or tarry
  • dizziness or fainting
  • a fast pulse

If these signs seem, search emergency medical consideration.

Individuals who drink giant quantities of alcohol day-after-day or really feel that they’re unable to cease ingesting can speak to a health care provider about methods to scale back their alcohol consumption.

Various ache reduction

Senior couple walking or jogging for exercise in park

Mild train could assist relieve ache naturally.

It’s usually protected to take ibuprofen when following the directions on the packaging and a health care provider’s orders. Folks can even use several types of ache reliever or different ache reduction strategies.

Nevertheless, different ache medicines, similar to acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin, can even work together with alcohol to trigger adversarial uncomfortable side effects.

Acetaminophen impacts the liver and may trigger life-threatening liver injury in individuals who drink alcohol commonly. Aspirin and naproxen are NSAIDs, which signifies that they belong to the identical class of treatment as ibuprofen and carry most of the similar dangers.

Pure treatments are usually not essentially any safer to take with alcohol. Some natural medicines and pure dietary supplements can even work together with alcohol and trigger uncomfortable side effects.

When somebody has already had greater than a reasonable quantity of alcohol, the most secure strategy to ache reduction is to attend till the alcohol is out of the physique earlier than taking ibuprofen or different ache medicines.

An individual can relieve ache utilizing different strategies, together with:

  • ice packs
  • heating pads
  • therapeutic massage
  • acupuncture
  • mild train, similar to strolling
  • topical menthol-based lotions and rubs
  • rest, deep respiratory, meditation, or guided imagery


Whereas individuals can sometimes have a small quantity of alcohol with ibuprofen, the most secure possibility is to keep away from mixing the 2.

Individuals who have well being circumstances ought to speak with a health care provider about their medicines and alcohol consumption to find out what’s protected for them.


What ought to I do if I’ve taken alcohol and ibuprofen collectively?


In case you have consumed a small-to-moderate quantity of alcohol together with ibuprofen, don’t drink any extra alcohol. You’ll be able to cut back the danger of abdomen upset by consuming a snack or small meal and switching to ingesting water. Sooner or later, it’s best to keep away from taking any ache reliever with alcohol.

Alan Carter, PharmD

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