Alcohol and Motrin: Can You Take Motrin After Drinking Alcohol?

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Motrin, also known as ibuprofen, is an anti-inflammatory medication used to treat pain caused by toothaches, menstrual cramps, headaches, muscle pain, and reduce inflammation and fever. (1) Motrin can be found over-the-counter or can be prescribed by a physician. Motrin can be taken in tablet form or topical form. If taken by tablet, Motrin can be taken every 4 to 6 hours to relieve symptoms, however, no more than 6 tablets can be taken within 24 hours. (2)

If you have been taking Motrin to help relieve aches, cold, or fever symptoms, you may be wondering if it is safe to consume this medication with alcohol. Due to the negative effects that may be elicited, it is not safe to combine Motrin and alcohol. If you are taking Motrin, it is important to stop all alcohol use. This may be difficult if you consume alcohol regularly or daily. If you are finding it difficult to discontinue your alcohol use, or you engage in binge drinking (excessive drinking), you may be experiencing alcohol use disorder. (3)

Here at Guardian Recovery, we provide comprehensive treatment for individuals experiencing alcohol use disorder or other substance use disorders. We offer medical detoxification and individualized therapy to aid you if you are ready to begin the steps to sobriety. With mental health and substance use often coinciding, we offer dual diagnosis treatment to help you overcome both, in a medically safe environment. If you are looking to begin your sobriety journey, contact us today to begin.

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Alcohol & Motrin

Alcohol, or ethanol, is a fermented substance that relaxes muscles, and impairs coordination and judgement. (4) Alcohol affects the brain and the spinal cord, or the central nervous system, by depressing these parts of the body. (5) Regular alcohol use can lead to kidney disease, since alcohol is filtered through the kidneys. (6) Drinking alcohol while taking Motrin can lead to unwanted side effects. It is important to understand and be able to identify the interactions between alcohol and Motrin.

Side Effects of Mixing Motrin & Alcohol

Similar to other medications, alcohol and Motrin can cause several drug interactions. Mixing Motrin and alcohol can be harmful and cause adverse health effects. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the following side effects can occur when mixing Motrin and alcohol: (7)

  • Liver damage — Alcohol is a main contributor of fatty liver disease and liver cancer. Motrin can also cause liver injuries. Mixing Motrin and alcohol can increase your chances of liver related damages. (8)
  • Fast heart rate — When taken alone, alcohol has been shown to elevate heart rate. Like other symptoms, adding Motrin to the equation increases the risk of fast or irregular heart rate. (9)
  • Increased blood pressure — Ibuprofen and similar pain medications are known to increase blood pressure over time. When taken in combination with alcohol, the likelihood of elevated blood pressure increases significantly. (10)
  • Increased drowsiness — Both alcohol and Motrin can cause drowsiness when ingested individually. When combined, drowsiness can occur to the point of diminished alertness. This can be dangerous if operating machinery. It is important to not operate motor vehicles when drinking alcohol. (11)
  • Kidney damage — Alcohol and Motrin, when taken together, can strain the kidneys, causing them to work overtime. The kidneys ensure that the body is properly hydrated. Alcohol and Motrin can interrupt this necessary process. In the long-term, alcohol and Motrin can cause extreme harm to the kidneys. (12)
  • Stomach pain — Mixing alcohol and Motrin can upset the stomach to the point of nausea and vomiting. Gastritis, or stomach inflammation, is also possible when these two substances are combined. (13)

Ulcers — The combination of alcohol and Motrin can irritate the lining of the stomach, causing stomach ulcers, which can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding. (14)

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Mixing Alcohol & Motrin Can Cause Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Motrin is known as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). NSAIDs are FDA approved medications that treat fever, pain, and inflammation. (15) NSAIDs can cause NSAID toxicity, which includes symptoms such as ulcers, intestinal punctures, and bleeding. (16) Mixing alcohol and Motrin can exacerbate these symptoms and cause severe gastrointestinal bleeding.  Gastrointestinal bleeding can be caused by consuming continuous and high volumes of Motrin. Mixing alcohol and Motrin increases the risk of developing gastrointestinal bleeding. The following symptoms may be signs of gastrointestinal bleeding: (17)

  • Tarry or black stool
  • Blood in vomit
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Blood in stool
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Tarry or black vomit

The informational label attached to Motrin states that gastrointestinal bleeding is more likely if you are over the age of 60, have experienced past gastrointestinal bleeding, or past ulcers. (18) Your chances of developing gastrointestinal bleeding also increase if you take blood thinners, steroids, other NSAID medications, or consume alcoholic beverages. Elderly individuals, or those 65 years of age or older, are at increased risk of experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding due to their bodies not being able to break down alcohol and other substances as well as younger individuals. (19) Elderly individuals are also at risk of falling and developing serious injuries when consuming alcohol or combining alcohol with other medications. (20)

Gastrointestinal bleeding can be life-threatening and lead to other severe medical conditions. Seek medical attention if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above as treatment may be necessary.

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The Risk of Overdose

Like most medications, if not taken as directed or taken in excess, overdose is possible. Mixing alcohol and Motrin can exasperate overdose symptoms. Symptoms of a Motrin overdose may include vomiting, stomach ache, fainting, or coma. Ibuprofen is one of the top causes of pain medication overdoses. According to the National Library of Medicine, Ibuprofen makes up 29% of pain medication overdoses. (21) Contact Poison Control Help if you think that you may be experiencing a Motrin overdose, or seek medical attention. (22) Alcohol overdose can occur when too much alcohol is found in the bloodstream. Basic bodily functions can shut down when alcohol overdose occurs. Symptoms of alcohol overdose include confusion, vomiting, seizures, irregular heart rate, and low body temperature. (23) Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect that you are experiencing alcohol overdose.

Mixing alcohol and Mortin can lead to dangerous side effects. Discontinuing alcohol use when taking Motrin is imperative for safe consumption and gut health. If you are finding it difficult to cease alcohol use, Guardian Recovery can aid you in developing healthy coping strategies to enhance your quality of living and lead a sober life. Guardian Recovery provides multiple treatment options for those experiencing alcohol use, such as inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, holistic options, and aftercare programs. For insured individuals, a free, no obligation health insurance benefit check will be conducted. Contact us today to identify which treatment option may be best for you.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

  1. https://www.drugs.com/motrin.html
  2. https://www.motrin.com/products/motrin-ib
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm
  4. https://www.britannica.com/science/ethanol
  5. https://www.britannica.com/science/central-nervous-system
  6. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/alcohol
  7. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7921853/
  9. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/28/well/eat/alcohol-heart-rate-effects.html
  10. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/high-blood-pressure-certain-drugs-may-compound-the-problem
  11. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines
  12. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/alcohol
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310265/
  14. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jgh.12805
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547742/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526006/#:~:text=Most%20commonly%2C%20the%20risk%20of,more%20commonly%20in%20the%20elderly
  17. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gastrointestinal-bleeding/symptoms-causes
  18. https://www.motrin.com/products/motrin-ib
  19. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/017463s105lbl.pdf
  20. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Medicine/Harmful_Interactions.pdf
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526078/
  22. https://www.poison.org/
  23. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-dangers-of-alcohol-overdose

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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