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Advil and Alcohol Interactions

What is Advil (ibuprofen) Used For?

Advil and Motrin are brand names for ibuprofen. This pain medication belongs to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).  

Advil

Symptoms NSAIDs help treat include:

  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Arthritis
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Headaches

Other types of common NSAIDs include aspirin, naproxen, and celecoxib. 

Side Effects of Advil 

Advil is a very safe drug and the majority of people who use it have no problems at all. However, Advil can produce side effects, including:

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

In more severe cases, using Advil can cause:

  • 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

Over-the-counter (OTC) ibuprofen generally has fewer side effects than stronger prescription ibuprofen. 

Ibuprofen can minimize symptoms like body aches but can increase your risk of heart attacks or strokes. The risk increases if you use the drug for more extended periods.   

A recent warning by the FDA states that pregnant women 20 weeks or more should not use ibuprofen, unless a doctor tells you otherwise. Using ibuprofen could cause rare yet severe kidney damage in an unborn baby. 

Can You Mix Advil and Alcohol?

According to the FAQs of the official Advil website, you should not mix alcohol and ibuprofen.

Advil can lead to severe stomach bleeding. This risk increases if you take Advil and drink 3 or more alcoholic beverages. 

Risks & Side Effects of Mixing Advil and Alcohol

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

Ibuprofen alone can result in gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, or holes. These can happen without any warning symptoms and even cause death. 

Drinking alcohol increases your risk of these side effects, especially after 3 or more drinks.

Alcohol can enhance the ability of ibuprofen and lead to damage of the stomach mucosa.

Mixing alcohol and ibuprofen can increase the risk of prolonged bleeding.

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. 

Women and the elderly face a higher risk of health problems due to ibuprofen. They metabolize alcohol more slowly. This means that alcohol stays in the body longer and has a higher chance of interacting with ibuprofen. 

Risks of Overdose: Can Ibuprofen and Alcohol Kill You?

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

If used correctly, ibuprofen is a safe and effective treatment, according to the FDA. However, mixing it with alcohol increases your chances of serious side effects.

Follow your prescription or the recommended dosage on the box. Adults should not exceed 1200mg per day for over-the-counter ibuprofen. Ask your doctor for the recommended dosage for children.

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

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

It is important to avoid mixing alcohol and ibuprofen to prevent any serious health conditions. 

Approximately 88,000 people die from alcohol-related cases per year in the United States. 

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

How Long Does it Take for Advil to Wear Off?

The effects of Advil last approximately 4 to 6 hours.

The half-life of ibuprofen is about two hours. This means it takes about two 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 completely.

How Long After Drinking Alcohol Can I Take Ibuprofen?

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 a day to take ibuprofen.

If you drink heavily, wait at least two days to take ibuprofen.

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Updated on June 27, 2022
6 sources cited
  1. “Alcohol Facts and Stats.” NIAAA, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Feb. 2020, www.niaaa.nih.gov/sites/default/files/AlcoholFactsAndStats.pdf.
  2. “Can I Take Advil with Alcohol?” Advil, www.advil.com/faqs-en/safety/can-i-take-advil-alcohol/.
  3. 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.
  4. “Ibuprofen: MedlinePlus Drug Information.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, www.medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682159.html.
  5. “NSAIDs.” NHS Choices, NHS, www.nhs.uk/conditions/nsaids/#:~:text=It's%20usually%20safe%20to%20drink,excessively%20may%20irritate%20your%20stomach.
  6. 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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