Effects of Using Ibuprofen and Alcohol – Ibuprofen (brand name Advil) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) designed to relieve pain, inflammation, and fever. It’s sold over the counter, meaning that means it doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription. That said, some prescription-only medications may also contain ibuprofen.
Although OTC drugs such as ibuprofen are available without a prescription, they can still be strong medications. They also come with the risk of unwanted side effects, especially if you don’t use them as directed.
Should You Take Ibuprofen and Alcohol Together?
Mixing any medication with alcohol has the potential to be dangerous to your health. Alcohol can render some medications less effective and intensify the effects and side effects of others.
In most cases, drinking a moderate amount of alcohol while taking ibuprofen will not result in harm done. However, using more than the recommended dosage of ibuprofen or consuming an excessive amount of alcohol can significantly increase your risk of complications.
In a study of more than 1200 patients, it was revealed that the regular use of ibuprofen increased the risk of stomach and intestinal bleeding in those who consumed alcohol. People who used ibuprofen infrequently and drank alcohol were not found to have an increased risk.
Symptoms of gastric bleeding include the following:
- Persistent upset stomach
- Black, tarry stools
- Blood in vomit
- Kidney Damage
Chronic use of ibuprofen can harm the kidneys. Alcohol use can harm your kidneys, as well, so using ibuprofen and alcohol in combination can significantly increase a person’s risk of kidney problems.
Symptoms may include the following:
- Swelling in hands or feet
- Shortness of breath
- Decreased alertness
Ibuprofen works to reduce pain, and it can help a person feel relaxed. Alcohol has a similar relaxing effect, so, when combined, these two substances may raise the risk of not paying attention while driving or operating machinery, delayed reaction times, and falling asleep. And, of course, you should never drink and drive—ever.
Finally, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, some research has found that using alcohol in conjunction with ibuprofen can result in an increased heart rate. A rapid heart rate can lead to side effects such as dizziness and result in medical complications if the person has a pre-existing heart or lung condition.
Side Effects of Ibuprofen
Ibuprofen can aggravate the stomach lining, and result in a gastric or intestinal perforation, which can prove fatal. If you use ibuprofen, you should consume the lowest dosage you need to relieve symptoms. Also, you should not use the drug for longer than you need. Following these precautions can reduce your risk of side effects.
According to the ibuprofen drug warning label, the risk of stomach bleeding is higher for those who are over 60 years of age, take a high dosage, use the medication long-term, take blood thinning or steroid drugs, or have had a history of stomach bleeding.
As people age, their bodies are unable to metabolize alcohol as effectively. Therefore, smaller amounts of alcohol in older adults can cause more significant interactions with ibuprofen, leading to increased risks and dangers.
Other possible side effects include the following:
- Stomach ulcers
- Fluid retention and swelling
- Headache and dizziness
- High blood pressure
- Allergic reactions
Also, if you have asthma, ibuprofen can make asthma symptoms worse. High doses or prolonged use of ibuprofen may also lead to a heart attack or stroke.
If you are a breastfeeding mother or use other prescription or over-the-counter medications, ask your doctor if it’s safe to take ibuprofen. Using ibuprofen while pregnant may cause harm to the unborn baby.
Treatment for Alcoholism
If you are using ibuprofen regularly to treat pain or inflammation, you are advised not to consume alcohol to reduce your risk of complications. If you have found yourself unable to quit drinking on your own, you should consider seeking professional help.
Midwood Addiction Treatment is an addiction treatment facility that specializes in drug and alcohol addiction, as well as co-occurring mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression. We offer comprehensive programs that feature services vital to the recovery process, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, health and wellness programs, and more.
If you or someone you know is struggling to quit drinking alcohol or using drugs, call us now! Discover how we help people break the cycle of addiction and begin to experience the healthy and fulfilling lives they deserve!