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Table of Contents

A Risky Combination
Risk Factors of Mixing Ibuprofen with Alcohol
Other Warning Signs of Addiction

Mixing substances, even when they are legal, is risky because each substance has its own set of side effects, and there isn’t any guarantee about how each will react with another. Reactions can range from mild to severe, and can even result in death.

Many medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, warn on their labels to not mix them with alcohol.


Ibuprofen is a pain reliever that is used for common, every day pain relief. It is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, and it is available on the shelf under many names including Advil, Motrin, Midol, or, of course, simply Ibuprofen. It relieves pain by blocking the prostaglandins, which are substances that can lead to inflammation and swelling and result in pain. When taken by itself, ibuprofen can have side effects of nausea, vomiting, dyspepsia, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Taking ibuprofen with food may help limit these side effects.

A Risky Combination

Alcohol can irritate your intestinal tract and stomach, and taking any NSAID, such as ibuprofen, can make that worse. Even a small amount of alcohol after taking ibuprofen is risky, and the more your drink the higher the risks are. Consuming a small amount of alcohol while taking ibuprofen is considered to be generally safe. However, it is extremely important to be careful when doing so and avoid it when possible. In fact, it would be wise to avoid drinking alcohol while taking any pain reliever.

Risk factors of mixing ibuprofen with alcohol are:

If you feel that someone in your life may be mixing ibuprofen, or any other substance, with alcohol, it is best to intervene or get help for him or her as soon as possible to prevent accidents from happening. Some general physical signs that you can look for are:

It can be tricky to know what exactly is going on because many of the symptoms of mixed substances are also symptoms of simply consuming too much alcohol, so sometimes a frank, stern conversation is required for everyone’s sake.

Other warning signs of addiction that you can be on the lookout for include:

If you notice these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, seek help from a medical professional as soon as possible. The best time to seek help is as soon as the problem starts, though it is never too late to begin treatment.

Be sure to follow the label and your doctors orders (if applicable) for dose and duration when taking ibuprofen, or any medication, whether prescription or over-the-counter. Your doctor will let you know if it’s safe to consume alcohol while taking the medication based on your specific case and risk factors. Remember, it never hurts to ask! That is what your doctor is there for. He or she would rather you ask than make assumptions or rash decisions that could have grave consequences.

Related: How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System


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