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What is Advil (Ibuprofen) Used For?

Like Motrin®, Advil® is another brand name used for ibuprofen. This type of pain medication belongs to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID).  

Advil

NSAIDs help treat pain, fever, and health conditions like arthritis, menstrual cramps, headaches, and much more. Other types of common NSAIDs include aspirin, naproxen, and celecoxib. 

In the case of ibuprofen, clinicians do not know the exact mechanism behind the painkiller’s effectiveness. However, ibuprofen does help inhibit prostaglandin production, a type of hormone that regulates pain, inflammation, and fever. 

It is important to remember that while ibuprofen can minimize symptoms like body aches, individuals taking the drug face a higher risk of heart attacks or strokes than those who do not take the NSAID. The risk increases for those who use the drug for more extended periods.  

It is best to consult a healthcare professional to determine if ibuprofen is a suitable treatment.

Side Effects of Advil 

Advil® is a type of NSAID that can produce side effects, including:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas or bloating
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Ringing in the ears

In more severe cases, using Advil® can cause the following side effects:

  • Sudden weight gain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling of the abdomen, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Fever
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Skin reactions (blisters, hives, itching, rash)
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Cloudy, discolored, or bloody urine
  • Aggression

When compared to prescription ibuprofen, over-the-counter ibuprofen generally has fewer side effects.  

A recent warning by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) states that pregnant women should not use ibuprofen unless directed otherwise by a health professional, around 20 weeks or later. Using ibuprofen could cause rare yet severe kidney damage in an unborn baby and result in low amniotic fluid levels. 

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Can You Mix Advil and Alcohol?

According to the FAQs of the official Advil® website, individuals should not mix alcohol while taking ibuprofen.

Advil®, like any type of NSAIDs, can lead to severe stomach bleeding. The risk of bleeding increases if an individual has been taking the pain reliever at high doses for extended periods or while consuming 3 or more alcoholic beverages per day. 

Risks & Side Effects of Mixing Advil and Alcohol

Mixing Advil® and alcohol carries many risks and serious side effects. 

First, ibuprofen use alone could result in gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, or holes. These medical problems can arise without any warning symptoms and even cause death. 

Simultaneously, when individuals drink alcoholic beverages (especially if more than a moderate amount), they increase their risk of experiencing these side effects. Alcohol can enhance the ability of ibuprofen and lead to damage of the stomach mucosa. Also, because ibuprofen is known to stop the function of some blood cells in blood clot formation, drinking alcohol can enhance the drug’s ability to cause prolonged bleeding.

The other aspect to consider is that alcohol alone has side effects that can cause sleepiness or lightheadedness. Because ibuprofen has similar side effects, drinking alcohol while taking the drug may worsen the effects. 

Finally, women and the elderly face a higher risk of health problems due to ibuprofen. Both women and the elderly have trouble metabolizing alcohol, which means that the beverage can remain longer in the body and interact with the NSAID. 

Risks of Overdose: Can Ibuprofen and Alcohol Kill You?

When an individual overdoses on ibuprofen, they may experience symptoms such as:

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

When an individual overdoses on ibuprofen while under the influence of alcohol, the symptoms can be much more severe and may result in coma, liver damage, and death. It is important to avoid mixing alcohol and ibuprofen to prevent any serious health conditions. 

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 88,000 individuals die from alcohol-related cases per year in the United States. 

How Long Does it Take for Advil to Wear Off?

Advil® is a type of drug that the body can quickly absorb and metabolize. It has an elimination half-life of approximately 1.8 to 2 hours, meaning that it will take the body this amount of time to metabolize at least half of the dose. 

However, the half-life of Advil® may differ from one individual to the next. Factors contributing to variations in half-life include age, weight, genetic, and even particular health problems. 

How Long After Drinking Alcohol Can I Take Ibuprofen?

It is best to remember that when an individual consumes a standard alcoholic beverage (14 grams of pure alcohol), it takes the liver approximately 1 hour to metabolize the drink. This means that if an individual consumes much more alcohol, the body will need more time to metabolize the higher quantities. The remaining alcohol can interact with ibuprofen even after a drinking session has finished. 

Individuals who have consumed a small amount of alcohol in a day should avoid taking ibuprofen until a day has passed. This will help to lower the risk of health complications. 

Similarly, individuals who drink more heavily in a day should avoid taking ibuprofen until at least two days have passed. 

Individuals are recommended to seek medical advice to determine when they can take ibuprofen after alcohol consumption.  

Treatment for Advil and Alcohol Abuse

If you or a loved one have a problem with alcohol and Advil®, many therapy options are available, including:

  • Supervised detoxification or withdrawal process
  • Rehabilitation and support groups 
  • Medical treatments 
  • Counseling 
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has great potential to help lower alcohol use and promote abstinence in many individuals with alcohol use disorder. Undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions could help individuals learn coping skills and determine what triggers or situations contribute to alcohol use. Medications such as Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram can also be used to treat alcoholism.

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Resources

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“Alcohol Facts and Stats.” NIAAA, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Feb. 2020, www.niaaa.nih.gov/sites/default/files/AlcoholFactsAndStats.pdf.

“Can I Take Advil with Alcohol?” Advil, www.advil.com/faqs-en/safety/can-i-take-advil-alcohol/.

Falcon, Carla Y. “Ibuprofen: How Well Do You Know Your Favorite Drug?” American Association of Endodontists, 20 Oct. 2017, www.aae.org/specialty/2017/07/19/ibuprofen-well-know-favorite-drug/#:~:text=Ibuprofen%20is%20rapidly%20absorbed%2C%20reaching,of%201.8%20to%20two%20hours.

“Ibuprofen: MedlinePlus Drug Information.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, www.medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682159.html.

“NSAIDs.” NHS Choices, NHS, www.nhs.uk/conditions/nsaids/#:~:text=It's%20usually%20safe%20to%20drink,excessively%20may%20irritate%20your%20stomach.

Weathermon, Ron, and David W Crabb. Alcohol and Medication Interaction. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1999, www.pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh23-1/40-54.pdf.

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