Effects of Using Ibuprofen With Alcohol: Ibuprofen, often used for headaches and pain relief, is used as a popular cure for hangovers. Along with alcohol, these two substances are generally seen as harmless and people rarely consider the dangers of combining them.
Pharmacies all over the country allow you to purchase ibuprofen over the counter. However, just because it can be purchased in a standard consumer pharmacy doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous. Ibuprofen is a potent drug and should always be used with caution. It’s important to know more about this medication, and the effects of using ibuprofen with alcohol.
Learning About Ibuprofen
Ibuprofen is officially known as an NSAID or non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug. It works by blocking an enzyme in the body that is responsible for producing certain substances called prostaglandins. These prostaglandins are responsible for pain and swelling. By blocking the enzyme, and reducing the amount of prostaglandins created, ibuprofen causes an individual to experience less pain.
Although they are responsible for the uncomfortable feelings of pain and swelling, prostaglandins have many benefits to the body as well. They protect our stomach lining from irritants, help the kidneys filter out toxic material from the blood, and they are also important in helping your blood to clot.
When ibuprofen goes to work limiting the production of prostaglandins, it goes without saying that it limits these beneficial effects as well. This can put people at risk for some dangerous side effects such as stomach or gastrointestinal ulcers, digestive tract irritation, kidney damage, and bleeding problems.
Effects of Using Ibuprofen With Alcohol
In addition to ibuprofen, alcohol is also a digestive irritant. It only takes one alcoholic beverage to cause your stomach to increase acid production. With the alcohol causing more acid in your stomach, and the ibuprofen damaging your stomach’s protective lining, combining the two substances can cause damage to the sensitive tissue found in the stomach.
Someone who chooses to use ibuprofen for an extended period of time can experience even more damage. Long-term use of ibuprofen can increase the risk of stomach bleeding. According to the research of experts, people who took large doses of ibuprofen were three times more likely to experience stomach bleeding than those who didn’t take any medication at all.
The increased acid levels in the stomach created by alcohol consumption can ultimately lead to the formation of ulcers. Using ibuprofen regularly after developing an ulcer can increase the risk of stomach bleeding. Signs of gastrointestinal bleeding include brown granules in vomit, blood in your stool, blood in your vomit, or relentless abdominal pain.
In addition to bleeding and ulcers, combining ibuprofen and alcohol can cause more serious side effects. Long-term use of both substances can increase the risk of liver and kidney damage.
Managing Pain Properly
The fact that ibuprofen, or another NSAID, is available over the counter doesn’t mean that it’s risk free. However, that doesn’t mean you need to put up with pain and swelling without taking any medication at all.
Pain and swelling can both be uncomfortable and severe at times. It’s important, however, to not become dependent on pain medications while attempting to relieve your symptoms.
As with any medication, it’s always a good idea to discuss your plan of action with a medical professional. People may think this is unnecessary when dealing with a medication like ibuprofen, but it’s still a strong medication that can cause serious negative effects. Taking these precautions ahead of time can’t hurt.
If you’ve decided to consult a doctor about using ibuprofen, then follow their instructions. Using the medication in higher doses, or more frequently than the doctor prescribes, can result in dependency and addiction.
If someone chooses to take ibuprofen to manage their pain, it should be taken in the lowest dose and shortest amount of time possible. Some over the counter medications are known as combination medications. These contain ibuprofen in addition to other active ingredients. It’s important to read the labels to see what exactly is in the medications you’re about to take. It’s also important to see the amount of ibuprofen that is active in each medication. Without reading the label, it’s easy to take more than the recommended amount of ibuprofen.
Many people will take medications like Tylenol or Aleve to substitute for ibuprofen. While they may not be as potent, they can still cause negative effects when they’re combined with alcohol. The active ingredient in these medications is called Acetaminophen. Although it may be less potent than ibuprofen, it should still be used with caution.
Acetaminophen can cause serious health defects when used for a long period of time. The substance, by its nature, affects the liver. When combined with alcohol over a long period of time, it can cause potentially fatal liver damage.
To avoid ibuprofen and acetaminophen, some people turn to natural remedies or supplements for pain relief. People believe they’re harmless because they’re natural, but some of these substances can still interact negatively with alcohol.
If someone begins to experience pain or swelling, and has already consumed some alcohol, the safest method of pain relief is to wait until the alcohol has left their system to begin taking pain medication. If waiting is not an option, there are other effective methods of pain relief that don’t require medication.
Massage, heating pads, ice packs, acupuncture, light exercise, topical creams or ointments, relaxation, deep breathing, meditation, or guided imagery can all be effective methods of drug-free pain relief.
The effects of using ibuprofen and alcohol are nothing to be taken lightly. They can cause serious damage in a person’s body. Given the risks for liver damage, kidney damage, internal bleeding, and ulcers, it’s important for people to use this medication with caution.
Substituting other seemingly “harmless” medications like Tylenol, aspirin, or Aleve doesn’t appear to be much better. These drugs also have the same capacity to cause damage to the liver and other organs.
When it comes to pain relief, it seems the healthiest methods are to wait for alcohol to leave the body before ingesting medication, or to use other more holistic methods. It may be best to avoid using medication whenever possible, as people can develop a dependence on these substances.
If you, or someone you know, has started to become dependent on ibuprofen or other painkillers, contact Just Believe today. We can provide resources on where and how you can get started on the path to recovery.