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Why ibuprofen should never be mixed with alcohol?

Why ibuprofen should never be mixed with alcohol?

05-31-2019 Posted in Special Features

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It has antiplatelet effects meaning it prevents blood from clotting. It is sold under brand names like Brufen, Genpril, Calprofen, Ibu, Nuprin, Midol, Cuprofen, Advil. Nurofen, Motrin, etc. It is used for the management of pain, fever, and inflammation. Available without a prescription, it is often considered as a non-addictive alternative to opioids.

Experts advise that ibuprofen and alcohol should never be taken simultaneously. This is because both ibuprofen and alcohol can inflame the lining of the intestines and the stomach. Taking both together can cause mild to serious side effects depending upon the dose of ibuprofen and the amount of alcohol ingested by an individual.

In line with the National Health Service (NHS) UK recommendations, it is safe to take less quantity of alcohol while taking pain relievers, including ibuprofen. However, subtle to severe adverse effects may be experienced by people who consume more than the moderate quantity of alcohol (single drink for females and two drinks for males in a single day) and take ibuprofen regularly. The odds of experiencing the side effects are extraordinarily higher with long-term consumption of ibuprofen and excessive alcohol intake.

The health risks associated with taking ibuprofen and alcohol simultaneously include:

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers – Doctors often recommend that ibuprofen should be taken with food so that it forms a cushioning in the stomach. It taken on an empty stomach, ibuprofen can irritate the digestive tract. Taking ibuprofen in higher doses or for a long duration can increase a person’s risk of bleeding and developing ulcers. Similar effects can be observed when alcohol is consumed. Therefore, the two should never be mixed together to prevent the risk of bleeding and developing ulcers. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), alcohol and ibuprofen can react together to cause ulcers, bleeding, and even a racing heartbeat.
  • Kidney problems – Kidneys filter the blood to remove harmful substances, including alcohol, from the human body. However, the kidneys have to overwork when a person consumes a high amount of alcohol. NSAIDs like ibuprofen affect the kidney function as they inhibit the synthesis of an enzyme known as cyclooxygenase (COX) in kidneys. When the production of COX is limited, an individual feels pain and inflammation. Alcohol exerts extra pressure on the kidneys. The propensity to develop a chronic kidney disorder is doubled in persons who are heavy drinkers, according to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). Ibuprofen consumption can be hazardous for individuals with compromised kidney functionality.
  • Increases drowsiness – Both ibuprofen and alcohol can induce dizziness, therefore, it is not safe to take both of them together as it might result in impaired function or excessive sleepiness. It is highly unsafe to drive while one has alcohol in his system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), because alcohol increases drowsiness, impairs coordination, and lowers reaction time.
  • Risk in aging population – The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states that older adults are at a higher risk of experiencing difficulties arising from mixing alcohol and medications. This is because as one ages, the body is rendered incompetent of breaking down alcohol. Taking medication and drinking alcohol simultaneously can increase the possibility of falling, adverse drug reactions, and other accidents in older adults.

It is important that people take the lowest possible dose of ibuprofen and for the shortest duration. In fact, an individual prescribed ibuprofen should discuss alternative therapies for pain management with their doctors. It is also important to read the labels of the drugs carefully to avoid taking an excessive amount of the medicine. One should steer clear of drinking alcohol to avoid the possibility of having adverse side effects. If one is battling with alcohol addiction, one must seek professional help.

Effective treatment for alcohol addiction works and people can lead better lives. Are you or a loved one suffering from alcohol addiction? Hillside Mission would like to help. We are the leading residential detox treatment center in California providing evidence-based treatment programs for complete drug and alcohol detoxification. For more information about our programs, call our 24/7 detox helpline 866-225-6101 and speak to a member from our admissions team. You can also chat online to a representative for further assistance.

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