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Ibuprofen (Advil) and Alcohol Interaction: Can You Drink Alcohol with Ibuprofen?

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Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 4/07/2022

Ibuprofen (Advil) is used to relieve people from fevers, aches and pains, menstrual cramps, and even symptoms of the common cold. The medication has adult and children’s versions and it’s available over-the-counter (OTC). That said, some types of ibuprofen require a prescription. These types of Advil are typically stronger and might have more side effects.

What are the Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Ibuprofen?

Mixing alcohol and ibuprofen leads to stomach irritation along the stomach lining. These are symptoms of both substances, so when the drugs are mixed the symptoms are debilitating. While mixing alcohol and ibuprofen in small amounts doesn’t lead to noticeable changes, high doses of ibuprofen and large quantities of alcohol can cause significant damage. The most common effects are gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney damage, and decreased alertness.

1. Gastrointestinal Bleeding

People who take ibuprofen in high doses over long periods have an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. Because ibuprofen irritates the stomach, continued use can lead to ulcers and other stomach problems. Alcohol also causes stomach irritation. While not as severe as ibuprofen, frequent alcohol consumption can lead to stomach ulcers and bleeding. Therefore, mixing alcohol and ibuprofen increases the risk of stomach ulcers appearing. Alcohol and ibuprofen can also increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding in many areas of the body.

2. Kidney Damage

In the body, kidneys filter harmful substances and drugs from the body. While consuming small amounts of alcohol doesn’t impact kidney function, moderate amounts of alcohol cause the kidneys to work harder. That said, ibuprofen is designed to block cyclooxygenase, which is an enzyme produced by the kidney. The kidney produces this enzyme to reduce pain but when mixed with alcohol the strain on the kidneys becomes too much. While most people can have small amounts of alcohol and ibuprofen, it still poses a risk.

3. Decreased alertness

Alcohol makes people feel intoxicated in large quantities. In fact, even small amounts of alcohol can reduce alertness in otherwise alert individuals. When alcohol is combined with ibuprofen, this decrease in alertness becomes more problematic. It can lead to more alcohol and ibuprofen consumption, which can irritate the stomach and result in further irritation. Ibuprofen also has a side effect that decreases alertness in high doses, so mixing ibuprofen with alcohol can contribute to this side effect and make it worse.

Does Ibuprofen (Advil) Affect the Taste of Alcohol?

No, ibuprofen does not affect the taste of alcohol. While taking ibuprofen with alcohol can make it taste different, this is only from the aftertaste that ibuprofen leaves in the mouth. Once the aftertaste subsides, alcohol will taste normal again. This is often worse if ibuprofen is consumed in liquid form because it leaves a stronger taste in the mouth.

Does Ibuprofen (Advil) Affect the Effect of Alcohol?

Ibuprofen does not directly interact with alcohol but it can make some of the symptoms worse. For example, alcohol and ibuprofen cause drowsiness as a side effect. When combined with ibuprofen, alcohol can make people feel more drowsy. Alcohol can also increase stomach discomfort and induce vomiting, which is also a side effect of ibuprofen. Therefore, when the substances are mixed people can experience more stomach discomfort.

Can Mixture of Alcohol and Ibuprofen (Advil) Lead to Death?

Mixing alcohol and ibuprofen can lead to death. Prolonged usage of ibuprofen can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding, which can be fatal if not treated by medical health professionals. Alcohol increases the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding as a side effect, so alcohol and ibuprofen in large quantities can lead to death. Moreover, alcohol and ibuprofen can increase drowsiness. Too much alcohol or ibuprofen in someone’s body can lead to a loss of consciousness that results in a coma.

Who should not Take Alcohol and Ibuprofen (Advil)?

Nobody should take alcohol and ibuprofen. Combining the substances causes stomach irritation and other side effects. Still, some people are more likely to have a negative reaction when the substances are combined. These individuals include those who have ulcers, people over the age of 65, and people who take other medications that interact with the stomach. In most cases, you should wait a few days to take ibuprofen after consuming alcohol to avoid potential dangers.

Can I Take Ibuprofen with Alcohol While Pregnant?

No, you can’t take ibuprofen with alcohol when pregnant. During pregnancy, alcohol should not be consumed or mixed with any substance. Mixing alcohol and ibuprofen during pregnancy can lead to a miscarriage, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and other potentially fatal medical conditions. You should also avoid consuming alcohol during breastfeeding.

Are all Types of Alcohol Harmful with Ibuprofen?

All types of alcohol are harmful with ibuprofen. Because alcohol irritates the stomach lining, the combination of ibuprofen (a medication that irritates the stomach lining) makes the irritation worse. Therefore, consuming any type of alcohol can cause serious side effects. That said, some types of alcohol are easier on the stomach than others. Beer and wine are easier to handle when taking ibuprofen but liquor can cause serious side effects. Liquor is typically more dangerous because it’s easier for BAC levels to rise when consuming liquor.

How Much Ibuprofen (Advil) can be Dangerous to Take with Alcohol?

Consuming alcohol and taking ibuprofen is dangerous. The result of the combination can be a serious illness, death, and other complications. That said, higher doses of ibuprofen have a bigger impact than smaller doses of ibuprofen. Ibuprofen becoming dangerous also depends on how much alcohol is consumed. For example, anything over 2 or 3 standard drinks can irritate the stomach lining and cause complications. Still, ibuprofen doesn’t become dangerous until people take about 3,200 milligrams within 24 hours.

Does Alcohol Affect How Well Ibuprofen will Work?

Alcohol does not impact how well ibuprofen works. The medication continues to be efficient even when alcohol is consumed. In fact, one or two standard drinks do not cause issues when consumed alongside ibuprofen (in most cases). That said, consuming alcohol with ibuprofen can irritate the stomach lining, which can make it feel as if the medication is not working properly. Furthermore, this can lead to severe side effects, ulcers, and other complications.

How Long After Taking Ibuprofen Can You Drink Alcohol?

Drinking alcohol with ibuprofen can lead to many negative effects. Both substances need time to clear from your body, so there are some things to consider before consuming alcohol after taking ibuprofen. First and foremost, it depends on how much alcohol you want to consume and how often you consume alcohol. If you want to have a few standard drinks, you should wait about 24 hours before consuming alcohol. If you want to have more alcoholic beverages, you should wait at least 48 hours. These same rules apply to taking ibuprofen.

What Are Other Drugs That Are Dangerous To Use with Alcohol?

Alcohol interacts with the mind and body differently for everyone. Keeping that in mind, alcohol is dangerous to mix with most substances. Before mixing alcohol with any drugs, you must speak with a medical professional. Unfortunately, mixing alcohol with other drugs can lead to death, serious illness, and other side effects. While ibuprofen is dangerous to mix with alcohol, there are also dozens of other substances that cause a negative reaction.

These substances are listed below.

  • Narcotics
  • Depressants
  • Antidepressants
  • Antibiotics
  • Liver medication
  • Xanax
  • Amphetamines
  • Stimulants
  • Marijuana
  • Hallucinogens
  • ACE inhibitors

These are only a handful of the harmful substances to use with alcohol. Before mixing anything with alcohol, always consult a physician.