Aleve (Naproxen) and Alcohol Interaction: Can You Drink Alcohol with Aleve?
Author: Thomas Roth
Last Updated: 4/01/2022
Aleve (naproxen) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by reducing the hormones that cause inflammation and pain. Aleve is available as an over-the-counter (OTC) medication, but can also be prescribed by a doctor.
Aleve is available in tablet, caplet, gelcap, and liquid gel forms and is taken by mouth, usually 2-3 times a day or every 8-12 hours, with a full glass of water. It is recommended that you do not lie down for 10 min after taking this drug. Also, taking aleve with food, milk or an antacid can help to prevent an upset stomach.
The most common OTC dosage of Aleve is 220mg but the exact dosage can differ if you have a prescription from your doctor. It is suggested that you do not take Aleve for more than 10 days consecutively for pain, or 3 days for fever.
Topics On This Page [hide]
What are the Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Aleve?
Common symptoms of aleve and alcohol interaction may be:
- Upset stomach
- Increased blood pressure
More serious side effects may include:
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Difficulty or pain when swallowing
- Hearing changes (such as ringing in the ears)
- Kidney problems
- Warning signs of kidney problems may include
- Stiff neck
- Vision changes
- Sudden symptoms of heart failure
- The most common symptoms of heart failure are swelling of the ankles or feet, unusual tiredness, and sudden weight gain.
- Liver disease or damage
- The most common signs include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and stomach or abdominal pain.
Serious reactions are likely to appear as:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Severe dizziness
- Difficulty breathing.
The interaction between Aleve and alcohol also poses a dehydration risk, so water consumption should be monitored and increased.
As Aleve works by limiting the amount of prostaglandin that your body releases which relieves the pain you may be experiencing, it can also reduce the beneficial effects of prostaglandin such as the maintenance and repair of the stomach lining. When mixing alcohol with aleve, your chances for gastritis (the inflammation of the stomach lining) and stomach bleeding are increased. This is more of a risk for those over 60 years old.
The most common usages of Aleve are for allergy symptoms. When mixing Aleve and alcohol these allergy symptoms can worsen and the risk of an overdose increases. Furthermore, Aleve can be fatal when mixed with alcohol.
1. Muscle pains
Aleve is used to prevent muscle pains. The drug works by treating muscle pains that are caused by allergic reactions and other ailments. While alcohol can also numb pain in large quantities, using alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of Aleve. For this reason, mixing alcohol with Aleve can reduce Aleve’s ability to treat muscle pain.
Aleve is commonly used to treat headaches. In fact, headaches are one of the most common uses for Aleve. While Aleve is great for treating headaches, alcohol can cause headaches. This makes Aleve less effective at treating headaches and causes side effects. The primary side effect is a headache that’s more painful than the original headache. Headaches in these cases are also harder to treat until alcohol is removed from the body.
Aleve is also used to treat toothaches. The medication can numb the pain caused by many types of toothaches. For example, Aleve can treat a headache that’s caused by a toothache. That said, alcohol reduces the effectiveness of Aleve. For this reason, combining alcohol and Aleve can create toothaches.
4. Menstrual Pain
Aleve can also be used to treat menstrual pains. Alcohol is known to reduce pain but during a hangover alcohol can make menstrual pain worse. Furthermore, when mixed with alcohol Aleve becomes less effective. This reduces Aleve’s potential to treat menstrual pain and cramps. In fact, the combination can make it worse.
5. Arthritis Pain
Aleve is also good at treating pain caused by arthritis, which is when joints become the target of an immune response. Because alcohol reduces immune function, it can make arthritis pain worse. When alcohol is combined with Aleve it also makes matters worse because it reduces the effectiveness of Aleve.
Does Using Alcohol with Aleve (Naproxen) Cause Liver Damage?
Yes, using alcohol with aleve poses the risk for a type of liver damage called toxic hepatitis. Toxic hepatitis is when your liver becomes inflamed due to exposure to a toxic substance, which can include prescription and OTC medications. Alcohol and OTC pain relievers, such as Aleve (naproxen), pose a significant risk for this on their own, and an even higher risk when mixed in excess with other drugs such as alcohol.
Does Aleve Affect the Taste of Alcohol?
There is no evidence to suggest that aleve affects the taste of alcohol. While taking alcohol with Aleve at the same time can impact the taste, the result is not permanent. Alcohol will taste normal again within a few minutes after taking Aleve. That said, the liquid version does have a more potent aftertaste.
Can Mixture of Alcohol and Aleve Lead to Death?
Yes, while unlikely, the mixture of alcohol and Aleve can lead to death. The mixture of alcohol and aleve has several potentially serious side effects associated with it such as bleeding more easily, liver and kidney damage, heart failure, and stomach bleeds. In those who are over the age of 60, there is an increased chance of not only developing these side effects, but to have them develop into very serious health problems. Additionally, several pre-existing health conditions may elevate your chance to experience these more severe side effects.
When mixing alcohol and Aleve, overdose is possible.
Symptoms of overdose may look like this.
- Severe stomach pain
- Extreme drowsiness
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms please seek medical attention immediately.
Who Should Not Take Alcohol and Aleve?
While there is no specific warning against taking alcohol and Aleve, those who fall into the following risk categories may be at an increased risk for adverse side effects and should treat the interaction with extreme caution or avoid it altogether:
- Those with an allergy to aspirin or other NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen)
- Medical history of:
- Aspirin-sensitive asthma
- Blood disorders (such as anemia)
- Bleeding or clotting problems
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- Stomach or intestinal problems (including, but not limited to ulcers and stomach bleeding)
- Kidney problems
- Those who frequently consume tobacco
- Pregnant women, or women who plan to become pregnant
- It is highly advised that women avoid taking any unnecessary medications during pregnancy, and you should always consult a health care professional to help determine the importance, risks, and dangers of a certain medication during your pregnancy. There is evidence that aleve can harm an unborn baby and has the potential to cause problems with labor and delivery. It is not recommended for use from week 20 until delivery and is highly advised against after week 30. Additionally, there is evidence that it can pass into breast milk and cause complications. Women should not be drinking alcohol during pregnancy due to the risks it poses to the baby such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) which causes life-long, irreversible growth and developmental complications.
- Women may be at a higher risk for interactions between aleve and alcohol. It seems as though women metabolize certain toxins more slowly, meaning that their livers are exposed to higher levels of harmful substances for a longer period.
- Those over 60 years old may face higher chances for side effects such as gastritis and stomach bleeding.
Are All Types of Alcohol Harmful with Aleve (Naproxen)?
No, all types of alcohol, when consumed in moderation, are not necessarily harmful with aleve for those in low-risk categories. For those in higher-risk categories, however, any amount of alcohol can be dangerous to mix with Aleve. Even though there are no strict warnings against consuming alcohol with aleve, alcohol should be consumed with caution and in moderation. The recommended daily intake of alcohol is described as 1 drink for women and 2 drinks for men. One alcoholic drink is considered to be either 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
How Long After Taking Aleve Can You Drink Alcohol?
While there is no specific warning against drinking alcohol after taking aleve, to have the lowest possible risk of experiencing side effects it is recommended that you wait 24 hours after taking Aleve before consuming alcohol. Aleve can stay in the system for up to 24 hours and as such you are safest when there is the lowest amount of the medication in your body. If you are going to be drinking alcohol while taking Aleve, alcohol should only be consumed in moderation.
How Much Aleve Can be Dangerous to Take with Alcohol?
In general, if alcohol is consumed in moderation and aleve is taken only as directed, it is unlikely that the combination will be dangerous. However, depending on your medical history and pre-existing conditions, any combination of alcohol and aleve has the potential to be dangerous.
Those who are taking Aleve for an extended period, even if they are taking it as directed, may be at a higher risk for complications as there may be a significantly higher level of the medication in the body. If you are taking Aleve for an extended period, longer than 10 days for pain or 3 days for fever, it is better to avoid alcohol until 24 hours after your last dose, and then proceed with caution and drink only in moderation to understand how your body reacts.
Does Alcohol Affect How Well Aleve Will Work?
There is no evidence to suggest that alcohol reduces the effectiveness of aleve. However, alcohol does significantly increase the risk for adverse side effects associated with aleve.
What are Other Drugs that are Dangerous to Use with Alcohol?
While many drugs have dangerous interactions with alcohol, some of the most dangerous are:
- Stimulants (such as cocaine)
- Antihistamines (such as Benadryl)
- Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax)
Please keep in mind that these are only some of the most dangerous drugs to use with alcohol. Any drug can be dangerous when mixed with alcohol is used incorrectly or abused. Always remember to consult a health care professional to be aware of the potential risks you may experience.