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Updated on October 11, 2023
5 min read

Naproxen and Alcohol

Naproxen is one of the many drugs that can have adverse interactions with alcohol. While Naproxen isn’t known to cause severe reactions, it can lead to complications in the stomach.

In this blog, we cover the basics of drinking while on Naproxen. We’ll review its effects so you can better judge whether or not you should consume alcohol while on medication.

Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Naproxen?

Drinking alcohol while taking naproxen is safe. However, drinking too much alcohol can irritate and potentially damage your stomach. Because of this, it's essential to understand the potential risks of combining naproxen and alcohol while undergoing treatment.

Taking naproxen or any other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) with alcohol can increase the risk of gastrointestinal (GI) tract problems. Older people also have an increased risk of bleeding and ulcers.


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What Happens If You Drink Alcohol While on Naproxen?

Naproxen relieves pain by inhibiting the production of a hormone called prostaglandin, which causes you to experience symptoms such as swelling, fever, and inflammation. However, naproxen can lessen the protective effects of prostaglandins, such as repairing and conserving the stomach lining.

Unlike other drug combinations, mixing alcohol with naproxen doesn't make you high. Alcohol can increase the volume of acid in your stomach, causing irritation and soreness. Because of this, mixing alcohol with naproxen can increase the risk of GI tract problems, including:

  • Gastritis
  • Ulcers
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding 

All of the GI problems mentioned above can be life-threatening. It’s best to consult your healthcare provider if these symptoms come up.

Dangers of Mixing Naproxen with Alcohol

Always consider all associated risks when mixing naproxen and alcohol. Both substances can weaken and irritate your stomach.

However, this combination can have potentially dangerous side effects, including:

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

If you experience these side effects, seek medical help immediately. If you have difficulty stopping alcohol consumption while on naproxen, it may be a sign of alcohol dependency. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about alcohol and naproxen use.


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What is Naproxen (Aleve)?

Naproxen is the generic name for Aleve® or Naprosyn®. It's a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) pain reliever that treats pain from menstrual periods, muscle aches, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Over-the-counter (OTC) naproxen may be taken with food or milk to prevent nausea. It can also treat:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the spine)
  • Gout (sudden, severe joint pain prevalent in older men)
  • Bursitis (inflammation of an area in the joints)
  • Tendonitis (tendon inflammation)
  • Primary dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps)

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

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

Naproxen Forms and Dosage

The standard recommended dosage for Naproxen is 220-550 milligrams (mg) taken every 8-12 hours. It’s available as a tablet or liquid that is administered orally. Naproxen's dosage will be different depending on a few factors, such as:

  • The strength of the medicine
  • The number of doses you need daily
  • The time allowed between doses
  • The condition the medication is treating

Taking NSAIDs minimizes the risk of severe side effects when taking the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Don't change your dosage unless your doctor tells you to.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. But if it's almost time for your next dose, skip the missed one and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double your dose to compensate for the missed one.


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Common Side Effects of Naproxen

Side effects of naproxen range from mild to serious. The most common adverse reactions to naproxen include:

  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Swelling

Severe Side Effects of Naproxen

Serious side effects of naproxen include:

  • Vision changes
  • Sore throat
  • Sudden, unexplained weight gain
  • Confusion
  • Skin reactions (rash, purple blotches, hives, blisters, or reddening)
  • Stomach bleeding or ulcers (bloody or tarry, dark stools, coughing up blood, or vomit resembling coffee grounds)
  • Liver issues (nausea, flu-like symptoms, dark urine, jaundice, or a decrease in appetite)
  • Kidney problems (swelling in feet or ankles, decreased urination, shortness of breath, or lack of energy)

Call 911 and seek medical attention immediately if these side effects occur.

Who Is at Risk When Taking Naproxen?

Taking NSAIDs like naproxen can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. This risk may occur early in treatment and grow over time.

Because of this, the following people may be at risk of severe side effects:

  • Older people
  • People who've taken NSAIDs for a long time or take higher doses
  • People who recently had a heart attack or stroke
  • People with high cholesterol
  • People with high blood pressure
  • People with diabetes
  • People with poor health
  • People who drink alcohol
  • People who smoke

People with a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding are also at greater risk for serious adverse interactions.

Additionally, women trying to become pregnant should not take naproxen. The drug may delay ovulation (when the ovary releases an egg) and affect a woman’s ability to conceive children.

Is Naproxen Addictive?

Naproxen isn't an addictive substance. You can't become dependent on it, and it doesn't have a high potential for abuse or addiction. However, alcohol is an addictive substance.

If you misuse naproxen and alcohol, you may be at a higher risk of developing alcohol use disorder. Contact your healthcare provider for treatment options or an alcohol addiction specialist.

How Long After Naproxen Treatment Is It Safe to Drink?

Aleve can stay in the system for up to 24 hours. Your safest bet is to avoid drinking alcohol for that time. This will, however, depend on your dose of NSAIDs and the amount of alcohol you plan to drink.


Naproxen treats pain, muscle aches, stiffness, and inflammation. It does this by inhibiting a hormone called prostaglandin, which is responsible for swelling and inflammatory responses.

Besides dealing with various types of pain, prostaglandins are also responsible for repairing the stomach lining. Although you can take naproxen while consuming alcohol, drinking too much can irritate and damage your stomach.

Combining naproxen and alcohol can potentially lead to gastritis, ulcers, and gastrointestinal bleeding. If you experience adverse side effects while taking naproxen, call 911 and seek immediate medical attention.

Updated on October 11, 2023
7 sources cited
Updated on October 11, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. EC-NAPROSYN~ (Naproxen Delayed-Release Tablets) NAPROSYN~ (Naproxen Tablets) ANAPROX~/ANAPROX~ DS (Naproxen Sodium Tablets) NAPROSYN~ (Naproxen Suspension).” Food and Drug Administration, 2007.
  2. Miller, K.E. “Alcohol and NSAIDs Increase Risk for Upper GI Bleeding.” American Family Physician, 2000.
  3. Bishehsari et al. “Alcohol and Gut-Derived Inflammation” Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2017.
  4. Brutzkus et al. “Naproxen.” StatPearls, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2020.
  5. Naproxen.” ClinCalc DrugStats Database. 2018.
  6. "About Naxopren." NHS. 2022.
  7. "Naproxen (Oral Route)" Mayoclinic. 2023.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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