Ibuprofen is a medication which has been found to be successful in reducing moderate to severe pain as well as reducing inflammation and fevers. Being a member or the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory class of drugs (NSAIDs) ibuprofen achieves its effects by inhibiting COX-1 and COX-2 which causes the realize of prostaglandins which are what produce ibuprofens analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Ibuprofen in addition to being very helpful for relieving pain and other symptoms poses some adverse side effects. It has been found that combining alcohol with ibuprofen can intensify some of these effects and is therefore not recommended.
Alcohol and ibuprofen interaction
90-98 percent of alcohol ingested is processed through your liver. It takes your liver about an hour to process approximately one alcoholic drink. The alcohol is processed in the liver with enzymes which allows it to be safely eliminated from your bodies system. Medications and toxins are also filtered through your liver. It is for this reason that taking ibuprofen and alcohol together can lead to a bad interaction in many cases. As both are be filtered through the same organ in you body, the liver, having too much of either one can overload your liver and lead to possible bad medical effects. Even if immediate effects from this combination are not experienced combining the two substances over a long period of time will put added stress upon your liver increasing the likelihood of liver disease like cirrhosis. Those with a history or family history of liver disease should be especially cautious with this combination as genetics have been found to play a large role in the development of liver disease.
Immediate side effects of alcohol and ibuprofen
One of the most common immediate side effects of combining ibuprofen and alcohol is a stomach ache. This is due to alcohol potentiating the bad side effects of ibuprofen, particularly ibuprofen's effects upon the gastrointestinal system. In addition, for some alcohol can already be a stomach irritant. If you find that either alcohol or ibuprofen on their own already causes a stomach ache or upset stomach it is best to avoid this combination even in small amounts. In extreme cases combining alcohol and ibuprofen may result in bleeding within the stomach or intestinal tract. The risk of this happening increases as the dosage of alcohol and ibuprofen both increase. The combination of alcohol and ibuprofen may also in many cases lead to ulceration of the stomach especially in those who have a history of stomach ulcers. In some users the combination of alcohol and ibuprofen also leads to lower bowel irritation resulting in diarrhea or in some users constipation.
Long-term side effects of ibuprofen and alcohol
If combined for an extended period of time the combination of alcohol and ibuprofen can lead to liver damage. Symptoms that indicate liver damage are yellowing of the skin, nausea, loss of appetite, and pain in the area around the liver. If any of these symptoms are experienced a doctor or medical professional should be seen as soon as possible and all consumption of alcohol and ibuprofen should be stopped. In general occasionally combining low amounts of ibuprofen and alcohol will cause no adverse reaction, but even low amounts when taken over a long period of time can be dangerous to your health.