Tylenol and Alcohol Interaction: Can You Drink Alcohol With Tylenol?
Author: Thomas Roth
Last Updated: 02/09/2023
Tylenol is an acetaminophen that treats conditions like aches, pains, fevers, and other small ailments. There are several types of Tylenol on the market and for some of the stronger variants, a prescription is required. Tylenol can also be used in older adults to treat conditions like arthritis and other aches and pains. Some people will also use Tylenol to treat menstrual cramps or to reduce fevers in adults.
Mixing Tylenol and alcohol is seldom a good idea, so no, you can’t mix alcohol and Tylenol. Mixing the substances puts you at a greater risk of developing liver damage. The more alcohol and Tylenol you combine, the greater the risk. Therefore, you should wait until alcohol has been cleared from your body before taking Tylenol.
Why Do Individuals Mix Tylenol With Alcohol?
Individuals mix Tylenol and alcohol for pain relief. Alcohol can cause a hangover if large quantities are consumed. Hangovers are the result of dehydration and can be uncomfortable for the person experiencing it. Individuals use Tylenol to reduce the headaches caused by hangovers and to improve comfort on the day after drinking.
Some individuals may also take Tylenol while drinking to prevent headaches from starting. As long as you don’t take more than 4,000mg of Tylenol the day after drinking, it should be safe (as long as it’s not an everyday occurrence). Tylenol may also make some people drowsy, which makes it easier to fall asleep if alcohol is causing problems like insomnia.
Does Tylenol Affect the Taste of Alcohol?
Tylenol does not affect the taste of alcohol. The only type of Tylenol that affects the taste of alcohol is liquid Tylenol. Due to liquid Tylenol’s strong aftertaste, the taste of an alcoholic beverage can taste more sour and bitter. On the other hand, the pill versions of Tylenol shouldn’t cause any differences in taste.
If taking Tylenol changes the taste of alcohol for long periods you should consult with your doctor.
Does Tylenol Affect the Effect of Alcohol?
Tylenol doesn’t affect the effect of alcohol. While it can cause side effects consuming alcohol with Tylenol doesn’t produce unique drunkenness or high. That said, taking Tylenol and drinking alcohol can strain your liver’s ability to remove alcohol from the body. This can cause the drunk state to last longer and increase the risk of liver damage, alcohol poisoning, and other illnesses caused by a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in the blood.
How Much Tylenol Can Be Dangerous To Take With Alcohol?
Tylenol taken in low doses with alcohol doesn’t always increase the risk of liver damage. The normal dosage for an entire day is typically no more than 4,000 milligrams (mg). That said, dosages of more than 4,000 mg increase your risk of developing liver damage. The higher the dosage the higher the risk of liver damage occurring.
For these reasons, you should never increase your Tylenol dosage and consume alcohol unless you speak with your doctor first. Doing so can lead to liver damage. In fact, frequent use of alcohol and Tylenol can lead to liver damage even in smaller doses — according to several studies published in the Journal of Medicine.
Is Using Liquid Tylenol With Alcohol Different Than Using Tylenol Pills With Alcohol?
The difference between liquid Tylenol and Tylenol pills is how the drug is absorbed by the body. Liquid versions of the drug are absorbed faster because Tylenol pills need to be broken down in the stomach. Therefore, liquid Tylenol can take effect faster than Tylenol Pills. When mixed with alcohol this can lead to a higher concentration of Tylenol and alcohol that strains the liver. Therefore, it can increase the risk of liver damage.
Does Alcohol Affect How Well Tylenol Will Work?
Alcohol affects how well Tylenol works because it makes the symptoms Tylenol aims to treat worse. For example, alcohol causes headaches and stomach discomfort. While Tylenol can treat mild headaches, its treatment ability gets negated if you continue to drink a substance that causes headaches when consumed in large amounts.
That said, having a drink or two while taking Tylenol shouldn’t cause an adverse reaction as long as you’re within the recommended dosage.
What are the Effects of Drinking Alcohol While Taking Tylenol?
Drinking alcohol and taking Tylenol can lead to several side effects. These side effects vary based on how much of each substance was consumed. In some cases, individuals won’t experience any side effects if the dosage of Tylenol and alcohol is low enough.
Some of the common effects that occur when mixing alcohol and Tylenol are found below.
- Flushing of the skin
- Loss of appetite
- Liver strain
- Liver damage
Tylenol and alcohol have several interactions and are both metabolized in the liver, so there are many risks of consuming both substances of high quality together.
Do Tylenol and Alcohol Cause Liver Damage?
Yes, alcohol and Tylenol cause liver damage. Years of alcohol abuse can lead to fatty liver, liver tissue scarring, and other conditions that lead to jaundice and liver failure. Abusing Tylenol can also lead to similar ailments because acetaminophen is metabolized in the liver. When you combine both substances or abuse both substances the risk of liver damage increases.
The liver is not like other organs. When the liver develops scar tissue it reduces the organ’s ability to function properly. Therefore, the best way to ensure you have a healthy liver is to prevent liver damage from happening. While conditions like fatty liver can be treated and reversed, severe liver damage can lead to death or the need for a transplant.
What Typical Side Effects Occur When You Combine Alcohol With Tylenol?
Combining alcohol and Tylenol leads to several side effects. Most side effects are mild but you should still watch out for nausea or vomiting, low appetite, fatigue, and some other symptoms.
1. Nausea or Vomiting
A common side effect of alcohol is nausea and vomiting, especially when consumed in large quantities. According to Drugwatch, about 34% of patients experience nausea or vomiting when taking Tylenol. Mixing Tylenol with alcohol also increases the chance of these side effects happening. It’s also possible to vomit in cases of an allergic reaction. When mixing alcohol and Tylenol the risk of nausea and vomiting increases because the side effects of both substances are amplified.
2. Low Appetite
One side effect of acetaminophen is low appetite. The medication interacts with the liver and may cause stomach discomfort that results in appetite loss. Stomach discomfort may include pain in the upper areas of the stomach, the inability to eat, fewer food cravings, and nausea. These symptoms will make someone less likely to have an appetite, which reduces food consumption.
Fatigue is a symptom of consuming Tylenol with alcohol. Alcohol causes fatigue because it interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain. An influx of these receptors firing leads to fatigue. Alcohol is also a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, so it slows down the heart rate and other bodily functions. In fact, it slows down neurons in the brain. The results of these effects are fatigue.
Are there any Serious Side Effects of the Intake of a Mixture of Alcohol and Tylenol?
Yes, there are serious side effects that occur when you mix alcohol and Tylenol. Serious side effects include liver diseases like jaundice, abdominal bruising/bleeding, and abdominal pains. Call your doctor immediately if you experience the following symptoms.
Jaundice occurs when there is an excessive amount of bilirubin in the blood. bilirubin buildup is the result of the liver’s inability to process red blood cells properly. When this happens, the skin turns yellow and people develop Jaundice. While Jaundice is normal in newborns, in adults it’s the signs of liver infection or liver failure. Alcohol consumption over many years increases the risk of liver failure and taking Tylenol frequently also increases the risk of liver problems. Therefore, taking these two substances together over many years increases the risk of jaundice.
2. Abdominal Bruising / Bleeding
Tylenol interacts with the stomach and liver and in some cases will cause severe side effects in the abdomen. Internal bleeding in the abdomen must be treated by a medical professional but symptoms include bruising on the abdomen and abdominal pain. In most cases, abdominal pain is in the upper right side of the abdomen. Always consult a doctor if you experience these symptoms.
3. Abdominal Pain
Pain in the abdomen is a serious symptom when taking Tylenol and drinking alcohol. In many cases, abdominal pain is the result of internal bleeding or bruising. For serious pain, always consult with your doctor, especially if you notice bruising on the skin of your stomach.
How Long After Taking Tylenol Can You Drink Alcohol?
You should wait for Tylenol to clear your system before drinking alcohol. It takes Tylenol about 4 hours to clear from your body but this depends on the dosage. Based on the time it takes to clear your body you should wait at least 5 hours to consume alcohol after taking Tylenol. In most cases, waiting for longer is always best.
How heavy someone is, their metabolism, and how much they’ve had to eat also factor into how long they should wait to drink alcohol after taking Tylenol. Therefore, it’s best to avoid taking Tylenol on days when you drink alcohol if it can be avoided.
What are Other Drugs That are Dangerous to Use With Alcohol?
Many drugs interact with alcohol, often with adverse effects, and some with the risk of death.
Some of the most dangerous drugs to take with alcohol are found below.
These are only a handful of dangerous drugs, so you should consult with your physician if you’re unsure.
What Should Be Done to Reduce Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction happens when someone’s brain and body become dependent on alcohol to function properly. Chemicals in the brain like dopamine and serotonin become influenced by alcohol and when alcohol is no longer consumed people can experience symptoms of withdrawal. Alcohol dependence turns into alcoholism when withdrawal symptoms begin to appear.
Treating alcoholism can be done in many ways. The most common methods are found below.
- Outpatient treatment
- Inpatient treatment
- Alcoholics Anonymous groups
- Faith-based programs
- Medically-assisted detox (MAT)
- Partial hospitalization
If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism or other alcohol-related illnesses, it’s important to seek help today.