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Ibuprofen and Alcohol Interactions

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Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs). The common brand names for ibuprofen are Advil and Motrin

Symptoms NSAIDs help treat include:

  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Arthritis
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Headaches

It is dangerous to mix ibuprofen and alcohol.

Advil

Can You Mix Ibuprofen and Alcohol?

It would be best if you did not mix alcohol and ibuprofen. If you take ibuprofen and drink more than a moderate amount of alcohol, you are more likely to experience dangerous side effects. A moderate amount of alcohol is equivalent to one drink a day for women and two for men per day.7 

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Dangers of Mixing Ibuprofen and Alcohol

Mixing ibuprofen and alcohol carries many risks and severe side effects. Ibuprofen alone can result in gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers.

These can happen without any warning symptoms and can be deadly. Drinking alcohol increases your risk of these side effects.

Gastrointestinal Bleeding and Stomach Ulcers

Alcohol can enhance the ability of ibuprofen and damage the stomach mucosa. Therefore, mixing alcohol and ibuprofen can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and stomach ulcers.

Gastrointestinal bleeding and stomach ulcers can include defecating blood, stomach pain, and vomiting.

Kidney and Liver Damage

Ibuprofen can cause stress to your kidneys and liver even without alcohol. When you add alcohol to the mix, there can be adverse effects.

If taken together long-term, the combination can cause damage that leads to liver disease and kidney disease.

Decreased Alertness and Drowsiness 

Alcohol alone has side effects that can cause sleepiness or lightheadedness. Similarly, ibuprofen also can bring you to a more relaxed state.

Because ibuprofen has similar side effects, drinking alcohol while taking the drug may increase these effects. This combination can increase the risk of dangerous driving, slow reactions, and drowsiness.

Risks in Older Adults and Women

Older adults have a greater risk of experiencing adverse reactions from mixing drugs with alcohol.6 This is because their bodies can’t break down alcohol as well.

Similarly, women face a higher risk of health problems when combining ibuprofen and alcohol. Women metabolize alcohol more slowly, so alcohol stays in the body longer.

Cardiovascular Issues

NSAIDs have been linked to cardiovascular issues, such as problems with blood flow, heart attacks, and strokes. Drinking alcohol while taking ibuprofen increases these risks, which can be deadly. 

Get emergency help if you or someone you know is experiencing chest pains, slurred speech, or weakness after combining these two substances.

Overdose

It is possible to overdose on ibuprofen. It is also possible to overdose on alcohol

The symptoms can be much more severe if you overdose on ibuprofen while under alcohol. It may result in coma, liver damage, or death.

Symptoms of an ibuprofen overdose include:

  • Dizziness
  • Uncontrollable fast eye movements 
  • Slow breathing or intermittent periods of no breathing
  • Blue color surrounding the lips, mouth, and nose

Avoid mixing alcohol and ibuprofen to prevent any severe health conditions. Follow your prescription or the recommended dosage on the box. Adults should not exceed 1,200 mg per day for over-the-counter ibuprofen.

How Long After Drinking Alcohol Can I Take Ibuprofen?

The effects of ibuprofen last approximately 4 to 6 hours. The half-life of ibuprofen is about 2 hours, which means it takes about 2 hours for your body to metabolize half the dosage.

It can take up to 24 hours for your body to get ibuprofen out of your system entirely.

On the other hand, it takes your liver about 1 hour to metabolize a standard drink. If you drink more, it takes longer to metabolize.

The alcohol remaining in your body can still interact with ibuprofen. If you have consumed a small amount of alcohol, you should wait approximately one day to take ibuprofen. If you drink heavily, wait at least two days to take ibuprofen.

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Updated on October 26, 2022
7 sources cited
  1. Alcohol Facts and Stats.” NIAAA, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2020.
  2. Can I Take Advil with Alcohol?” Advil.
  3. Falcon, Carla Y. “Ibuprofen: How Well Do You Know Your Favorite Drug?” American Association of Endodontists, 2017.
  4. Ibuprofen: MedlinePlus Drug Information.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2022.
  5. NSAIDs.” NHS Choices, NHS, 2019.
  6. Substance Use in Older Adults.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020.
  7. Is it safe to mix ibuprofen and alcohol?” Medical News Today, 2019.

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