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Aspirin and Alcohol Interactions

What is Aspirin?

Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) painkiller. 

Bottle of Aspirin

NSAIDs help treat various symptoms, including:

  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Arthritis
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Headaches

Other common NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and prescription celecoxib. 

Your doctor may prescribe aspirin for a variety of reasons. You can also purchase over-the-counter (OTC) aspirin. OTC medications are often available at a lower strength.

Prescription NSAIDs can treat symptoms caused by the following conditions:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Other rheumatologic issues

Side Effects of Aspirin

Common side effects of aspirin include:

  • Mild indigestion (stomach aches)
  • Quicker and prolonged bleeding
  • Mild headache

In more serious cases, people report these side effects:

  • Red, blistered, and peeling skin 
  • Blood in pee, stool, or vomit
  • Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes) due to liver damage
  • Joint pain/swelling in the hands and feet

In rare cases, people may experience an extreme allergic reaction to aspirin called anaphylaxis. 

You should not take aspirin with ibuprofen or naproxen without consulting a healthcare provider. Combining these NSAIDs increases the risk of side effects. However, it is safe to take aspirin with acetaminophen.

Can I Drink Alcohol and Take Aspirin?

You should not drink alcohol and take aspirin at the same time. 

Mixing alcohol and aspirin can also cause indigestion problems and increase the risk of stomach ulcers. Alcohol may affect how the body absorbs and metabolizes aspirin, delaying the drug’s effects. 

Anyone with an alcohol use disorder should not take aspirin without speaking to a healthcare provider first.

Side Effects of Mixing Aspirin and Alcohol

Aspirin alone can contribute to gastrointestinal bleeding (stomach bleeding), ulcers, or holes. Warning symptoms do not appear, and in extreme cases, death can result. 

Alcohol increases the risk of these side effects. The more alcohol is consumed, the greater the risk.

Aspirin is a blood thinner, and alcohol can increase blood pressure. If you mix the two, you may experience prolonged bleeding.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It creates side effects like sleepiness, lightheadedness, and difficulty breathing. These side effects can worsen due to interactions between alcohol and aspirin.

Risks of Mixing Aspirin and Alcohol 

There are many risks associated with aspirin and alcohol.

The risk of death due to overdose is also possible.

If you overdose on aspirin, alcohol consumption may increase the severity of these symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Decreased urination
  • Dizziness 
  • Hallucinations
  • Drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Irritability

The risk of drug-alcohol interactions is higher in women and the elderly. Both women and the elderly metabolize alcohol more slowly. This means that the alcoholic beverage can exist longer in the body and interact with the aspirin. 

How Long After I Drink Alcohol Can I Take Aspirin?

It is important to check the drug’s information pamphlet to confirm.

Typically if you have one standard drink, your liver will metabolize that drink in about 1 hour. If you drink more than one standard drink, your body will take longer to metabolize the alcohol.

For optimal effects and minimal risk of complications, avoid drinking alcohol when taking aspirin.

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Updated on March 26, 2022
3 sources cited
  1. “Aspirin for Pain Relief.” NHS Choices, NHS, 15AD, 2018, www.nhs.uk/medicines/aspirin-for-pain-relief/.
  2. “Aspirin: MedlinePlus Drug Information.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 Nov. 2020, medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682878.html.
  3. DURLAZA (Aspirin) Extended Release Capsules, for Oral Use, 2015. www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2015/200671s000lbl.pdf.

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