Aleve and Alcohol Interactions

What is Aleve (Naproxen)?

Aleve is the brand name of an over-the-counter type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), Naproxen. It’s used to relieve pain such as headaches, muscle aches, menstrual cramps, dental pain, tendonitis, and more. Aleve can also help to reduce swelling and joint stiffness, which can be caused by several conditions like arthritis, gout attacks, and bursitis.

aleve

NSAIDs work by blocking the body's production of inflammation-causing natural substances. Other Naproxen pain relievers include the following:

  • EC Naprosyn
  • Anaprox
  • Anaprox DS
  • Naprosyn
  • Naprox Sodium
  • Naproxen EC
  • Naproxen SR
  • Naprelan
  • Menstridol

As with all medications, there are some side effects you may experience while taking Aleve (Naproxen). These side effects include the following:

  • Stomach pain and/or bleeding
  • Abdominal perforation
  • Abdominal ulcers
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Constipation or diarrhea 
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Swelling
  • Fluid retention
  • Inflammation of the mouth’s mucous membrane
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Diverticulitis
  • Hearing loss and tinnitus 

NSAIDs like Aleve also cause an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure when they’re taken at high doses and/or for long periods.

Drinking alcohol while taking Aleve may exacerbate these side effects. The larger the amount of alcohol, the bigger the risk. For the same reason, you should only take the recommended dose of Aleve.

What Happens if You Drink After Taking Aleve?

Because Aleve is an NSAID, it can cause severe stomach bleeding. The chances of this happening are higher if you have three or more alcoholic drinks every day while taking Aleve.

Alcohol consumption can also have some similar side effects as taking Aleve, as well. Therefore, drinking alcohol while taking Aleve can intensify these side effects. Seek medical advice immediately if you are experiencing trouble after drinking alcohol and taking Aleve.

Side Effects of Mixing Aleve & Alcohol

You’re at a higher risk of experiencing certain and sometimes serious side effects when mixing painkillers like Aleve and alcohol. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Abdominal pain and/or bleeding
  • Abdominal ulcers
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Fluid retention
  • Liver damage or liver failure
  • Kidney problems

You should never mix pain medications like Aleve and alcohol, especially if you have a history of gastrointestinal bleeding or stomach ulcers. Because Naproxen works to reduce prostaglandin in the body (which causes inflammatory reactions), it thickens and protects the stomach lining. Drinking alcohol with this kind of drug can damage the stomach lining. Consequently, it can cause an upset stomach and increase your risk of stomach bleeding, ulcers, and gastritis.

Which is Worse With Alcohol: Tylenol or Advil?

Like Aleve, it’s best not to drink alcohol while taking Tylenol or Advil. Tylenol is not an NSAID; rather, it’s an acetaminophen, which relieves fevers and headaches, as well as other common aches and pains. It does not relieve inflammation, which means that it does not have the same stomach-related side effects as Aleve. It’s not wise to drink alcohol while taking Tylenol to not exacerbate the other possible side effects.

Advil is another NSAID that can cause stomach bleeding, especially if taken at high dosages for long periods. Like Aleve, drinking alcohol while taking Advil can increase the chance of this happening.

How Long After Taking The Drug is It Safe to Drink?

Aleve can stay in the system for up to 12 hours, so your safest bet is to avoid drinking alcohol for that time.

Resources

Aleve Tablets, www.aleve.com/products/aleve/aleve-tablets

“FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: LABELING AND USAGE.” Frequently Asked Questions: Labeling And Usage, www.aleve.com/faq/aleve-faq/frequently-asked-questions-labeling-and-usage

“Mixing Naproxen And Alcohol - Can You Drink While Taking Naproxen?” Vertava Health, 6 Jan. 2020, vertavahealth.com/polysubstances/alcohol-naproxen/.

“Naproxen (Aleve): Side Effects, Dosages, Treatment, Interactions, Warnings.” RxList, RxList, 4 Apr. 2017, www.rxlist.com/consumer_naproxen_aleve/drugs-condition.htm

“Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002123.htm

Publishing, Harvard Health. “Where to Turn for Pain Relief - Acetaminophen or NSAIDs?” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/pain/where-to-turn-for-pain-relief-acetaminophen-or-nsaids.

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Updated on: October 20, 2020
Author
AnnaMarie Houlis
About
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Medically Reviewed
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Annamarie Coy,
BA, CADACII/ICADC, ICPR, MATS
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