Mixing Alcohol and Naproxen

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When it comes to consuming alcohol and medications, it is important to be aware of potential interactions that can occur. The pain reliever, Naproxen, for example, does not interact well with alcohol. The combination of naproxen and alcohol can increase your risk of stomach bleeding or other gastrointestinal issues.

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What Is Naproxen & Why Is It Prescribed?

Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug commonly prescribed to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and manage fever. It belongs to the same class of medications as ibuprofen and aspirin and is available both over the counter and in prescription-strength doses. Naproxen is used to alleviate conditions such as arthritis, menstrual cramps, sprains, strains, and other musculoskeletal injuries. It works by blocking the production of certain chemicals in the body that cause inflammation.

The Common Side Effects of Naproxen Use

Like any medication, Naproxen may cause side effects in some individuals. While not everyone will experience them, it is important to be aware of potential adverse reactions. Common side effects associated with Naproxen use include:

  • Upset stomach.
  • Heartburn.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Nausea.
  • Dizziness.
  • Headache.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Constipation.
  • Gas.

Less common side effects may include ringing in the ears (tinnitus), blurred vision or other vision changes, confusion or depression.

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What Happens If You Drink Alcohol with Naproxen?

Consuming alcohol while taking Naproxen can increase the risk of certain side effects and potentially lead to adverse health consequences. Both alcohol and NSAIDs like Naproxen have the potential to irritate the stomach lining, leading to gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) and an increased risk of stomach bleeding and ulcers. Mixing alcohol and Naproxen can exacerbate these risks and have a cumulative effect. Additionally, drinking alcohol while taking naproxen can increase your risk for liver damage and kidney problems due to its effect on these organs.

Are There Potentially Dangerous Side Effects of Consuming Alcohol & Taking Naproxen?

The most severe side effect associated with the combination of alcohol and Naproxen is gastrointestinal bleeding. This can manifest as dark, tarry stools or vomit that resembles coffee grounds. Gastrointestinal bleeding can lead to anemia, weakness, fatigue, and in severe cases, it may result in hemorrhagic shock, requiring emergency medical intervention.

It is important to note that these risks can vary depending on your health, the dosage of Naproxen, the frequency of alcohol consumption, and other factors. That is why it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Increased Chances of Gastritis or Stomach Bleeding

Alcohol is a known irritant to the stomach lining, and when combined with Naproxen, the risks are amplified. Studies have shown that the concurrent use of NSAIDs and alcohol significantly increases the chances of developing gastrointestinal issues. In fact, according to a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, individuals who consume alcohol while taking NSAIDs have a fourfold increased risk of developing gastritis compared to those who do not consume alcohol.

Alcohol can interfere with the blood’s clotting mechanism, and NSAIDs can inhibit the production of substances that protect the stomach lining, increasing the risk of bleeding. Stomach bleeding can be serious and potentially life-threatening, requiring immediate medical attention.

Should Alcohol Be Avoided When Taking NSAIDs?

Alcohol and Naproxen or other NSAIDs can be a risky combination. The potential adverse effects, particularly an increased risk of gastritis and stomach bleeding, underscore the importance of exercising caution and making informed decisions regarding alcohol consumption while on medication. To ensure your safety, always consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before combining alcohol and any medication. Their expertise will help guide you on the best course of action based on your individual circumstances.

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  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2492908/
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/naproxen-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20070610
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2679577/

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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.

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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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