What Are the Effects of Mixing Ibuprofen and Alcohol?

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  • Written By: Ron Marr
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 July 2014
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Some people might consider it a logical progression. Consumption of too much alcohol causes pain in the form of a hangover. Ibuprofen relieves pain, and thus must be a good hangover cure. This just goes to show that simple logic can have its flaws. Ibuprofen and alcohol are a dangerous mix, and the combination might lead to serious health consequences.

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by reducing pain and inflammation. It has proven very effective, and is frequently taken to bring relief when someone is afflicted by backaches, arthritis, or a host of minor injuries. Like most drugs, however, ibuprofen has its drawbacks. The drug increases the chances of both stroke and heart attack. These risks become greater the longer one takes ibuprofen.

Mixing ibuprofen and alcohol brings on an entirely different set of problems. Alcohol is in itself a depressant drug that interacts negatively with a wide variety of substances. Most of the interactions resulting from mixing ibuprofen and alcohol take place in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. The effects might not always happen, and some medical authorities believe that small doses of alcohol are safe with ibuprofen. Mixing the two on a regular basis, however, will almost always lead to trouble.

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The warnings against taking a combination of ibuprofen and alcohol generally state that a person ingesting the former should have no more than three ounces (88.7 ml) of alcohol per day. Most doctors recommend erring on the side of caution, and advise that a person on ibuprofen should abstain from alcohol entirely. The mixture of ibuprofen and alcohol can potentially cause perforations and tears in the stomach lining. It can also cause potentially fatal gastrointestinal bleeding, and might stimulate increased irritation of existing ulcers. The same effect can occur when alcohol is mixed with any NSAID, not just ibuprofen.

It is typically considered unwise to swallow any type of painkiller while alcohol is in one’s system. This applies equally to prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Alcohol and aspirin has long been known to eat away at the lining of the stomach, and the combination of alcohol and acetaminophen poses severe threats to the liver. The latter duo is particularly dangerous, and should be avoided at all costs.

A person who is taking ibuprofen should consult with his family physician regarding the wisdom of consuming alcohol while the drug is in his system. The odds of a negative reaction might initially be low, but medical studies seem to indicate that those odds increase over time. Only a qualified physician can provide the advice required before one considers any sort of drug mixture.

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ZipLine
Post 3

The ibuprofen and alcohol interaction gives me an upset stomach. I can take them separately. But when I combine them, my stomach can't handle it.

donasmrs
Post 2

@turkay1-- How quickly alcohol leaves the system depends on how much alcohol is consumed. It also depends on the person. Some people's liver processes things more slowly than others. A general rule however is that one unit of alcohol leaves the body every hour. So depending on how much you drink, you can estimate how long it will take for you.

It's not a good idea to take ibuprofen for a hangover because your body is still in the processes of getting rid of the alcohol. The liver is responsible for doing this. Ibuprofen also gets broken down by the liver. So when you take ibuprofen with alcohol, you're giving your liver extra work.

For people who have liver issues, mixing ibuprofen and alcohol is dangerous because it can literally cause liver failure. When you have a hangover, try to get over it by drinking lots of water, taking it easy and resting.

candyquilt
Post 1

How long does it take for alcohol to leave one's system?

I take an ibuprofen for hangover symptoms. I've never felt that it's dangerous, since I take the ibuprofen the next day. The alcohol is mostly out of my system by then right?

I don't take ibuprofen with alcohol otherwise.

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