Mixing Alcohol and Advil (Ibuprofen)?

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Alcohol is a substance used by many individuals, with approximately 219.2 million individuals, 12 years of age or older, reporting that they have engaged in alcohol use during some point in their lives. Its psychoactive and dependence-producing characteristics makes it a substance that is highly addictive. (1) Those who find it difficult to control or stop their alcohol use may be experiencing alcohol use disorder. In 2019, approximately 14.1 million individuals, over the age of 11, were diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. (2) In 2021, this number increased to approximately 29.5 million individuals meeting the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder. (3) Being one of the most widely used substances in the world, some individuals may wonder whether or not it is safe to drink alcohol while taking other medications, such as Ibuprofen. Additionally, those who engage in alcohol use chronically, or daily, may find it difficult to stop their alcohol use if they chose to.

At Guardian Recovery, we offer comprehensive treatment options for those experiencing addiction or dependency to alcohol or other substances. With alcohol specific detoxification services, we ensure that those beginning their recovery journey are able to do so in a medically supervised and safe environment. Providing informative interventions, such as psychoeducation and life skills training, we are dedicated to helping those experiencing substance use disorders in developing the necessary techniques needed to reach and maintain sobriety. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and to get started on your road to recovery.

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What Is Advil Commonly Used to Treat?

Advil, also known by its generic name Ibuprofen, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). (4) Advil is used to reduce fever and help treat pain or inflammation caused by headache, back pain, arthritis, tooth pain, minor injuries, and menstrual cramps. (5) Ibuprofen works by minimizing the hormones associated with causing inflammation and pain throughout the body. Advil can be taken by individuals ages 2 and older. (6) Advil can be purchased over-the-counter, though larger doses can be prescribed by a doctor following injuries or certain procedures.

Common Side Effects of Advil Use

Certain side effects can occur when taking Advil. Some side effects may be more common than others, while others may require medical attention.

Common side effects associated with Advil use include: (7)

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Gas
  • Bleeding
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

More serious side effects can occur with Advil use. Contact your medical provider if you experience the following symptoms after taking Advil: (8)

  • Changes in vision
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Skin rash
  • Bloody or tarry stools
  • Coughing up blood
  • Vomit that resembles coffee grounds
  • Upper stomach pain
  • Jaundice
  • Dark urine
  • Pale skin
  • Lightheadedness

Does Alcohol Make Advil Less Effective?

Alcohol can impact the effectiveness of various medications. Alcohol and Advil both can affect the kidneys, and combining the two can cause the body to be less effective in terms of filtering toxins out of the body. (9)

Is it Safe to Consume Alcohol While Taking Advil?

Consuming moderate amounts of alcohol when taking Advil is unlikely to cause immediate, serious damage. However, it is recommended that alcohol is avoided when taking Advil as combining the two can increase an individual’s chances of experiencing adverse side effects, such as stomach bleeding. (10) Side effects associated with mixing alcohol and Advil are more likely to occur in individuals included in the senior or elderly population.

Alcohol Can Increase Side Effects of Pain Relief Medications

Alcohol can increase the side effects caused by pain relievers, including Advil. (11) Alcohol can increase side effects associated with Ibuprofen, such as irritation of the stomach and digestive tract, and kidney disease.

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Can Alcohol & Ibuprofen Cause Liver Issues?

The liver is an organ in the body that is responsible for processing blood, breaking down nutrients, storing vitamins, and managing cholesterol levels. (12) Research has found that Ibuprofen use can cause liver damage and liver toxicity. (13) NSAIDs, like Ibuprofen, have actually been found to be one of the most common causes of drug-induced liver damage. (14) Excessive alcohol use can also cause damage to the liver. Combining these two substances increases the likelihood of an individual experiencing severe liver damage. Research has also found that alcohol can further irritate liver toxicity caused by NSAIDs. (15)

Adverse Side Effects That May Occur When Mixing Alcohol & Advil

Mixing alcohol and Advil can increase an individual’s chances of experiencing unwanted side effects.

Adverse side effects associated with mixing alcohol and Ibuprofen include: (16)

  • Drowsiness
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Indigestion
  • Kidney damage
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stroke

Gastrointestinal Bleeding & Complications

Research has found that regular Advil use increases an individual’s chances of experiencing bleeding in the stomach and intestines. (17) The same study found that those who engaged in alcohol use and occasional Advil use did not experience this increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.

Signs of gastrointestinal bleeding include: (18)

  • Consistent stomach pain
  • Black or tarry stools
  • Blood in vomit
  • Vomit that resembles coffee grinds

It is important that you contact your doctor if you, or a loved one, experience any of the above symptoms as bleeding in the intestines can be dangerous.

Risks Combining Advil & Alcohol May Pose to the Kidneys

The kidneys are a pair of organs that filter toxins from out of the body. Both alcohol and long-term Advil use can cause damage to the kidneys. Mixing the two together only leads to further damage.

Signs of kidney impairments include: (19)

  • Tiredness
  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, or hands
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

How Long Should You Wait to Consume Alcohol After Taking Ibuprofen?

Exactly how long an individual waits before they consume alcohol following Ibuprofen use varies depending on the individual, their age, and their overall health. It is recommended that an individual waits at least 10 hours before consuming alcohol following regular use of Advil. (20) This is due to it taking approximately 10 hours for Ibuprofen to be cleared from the body. Following alcohol use, it is recommended that an individual waits 24 hours before taking Ibuprofen due to it taking approximately this long for alcohol to be removed from an individual’s system. (21)

Many individuals may choose to stop all alcohol use if they are needing to take Advil or another NSAID. This can be extremely difficult, and even dangerous if an individual is addicted or dependent on alcohol. At Guardian Recovery, we offer medically supervised detoxification services and medication associated treatment to help monitor and minimize withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping alcohol use.

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If you suspect that you, or someone you love, are experiencing alcohol use disorder, or addiction to another substance, treatment may be beneficial. Our complimentary, initial psychological assessment can help determine if any addiction concerns are present, and which treatment option would best fit your specific treatment plan needs. At Guardian Recovery, we combine psychiatric and psychological principles to provide evidence-based, therapeutic interventions. One of our Treatment Advisors is ready to speak with you to provide you with more information, and to guide you through our simple admissions process. A free, no obligation insurance benefits check can be provided to help determine which of our treatment options is covered by your health insurance plan. We understand that recovery can seem scary, but you are not alone. Start your recovery journey today at Guardian Recovery.

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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.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohol-topics/alcohol-facts-and-statistics/alcohol-use-disorder-aud-united-states-age-groups-and-demographic-characteristics
  2. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/sites/default/files/publications/NIAAA_Alcohol_FactsandStats_102020_0.pdf
  3. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohol-topics/alcohol-facts-and-statistics/alcohol-use-disorder-aud-united-states-age-groups-and-demographic-characteristics
  4. https://www.drugs.com/advil.html
  5. https://www.drugs.com/advil.html
  6. https://www.drugs.com/advil.html
  7. https://www.drugs.com/advil.html
  8. https://www.drugs.com/advil.html
  9. https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/you-drink-alcohol-ibuprofen-3571982/
  10. https://www.drugs.com/advil.html
  11. https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/you-drink-alcohol-ibuprofen-3571982/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535438/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7921853/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7921853/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7921853/
  16. https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/you-drink-alcohol-ibuprofen-3571982/
  17. https://www.healthline.com/health/pain-relief/ibuprofen-alcohol
  18. https://www.healthline.com/health/pain-relief/ibuprofen-alcohol
  19. https://www.healthline.com/health/pain-relief/ibuprofen-alcohol
  20. https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/you-drink-alcohol-ibuprofen-3571982/
  21. https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/you-drink-alcohol-ibuprofen-3571982/

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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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