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How long after taking Naproxen can I drink alcohol?

10th October 2019

Mixing Naproxen and alcohol can produce a lot of dangerous side effects. Naproxen may be taken without causing any harmful effects to the body, but misusing it or mixing it with alcohol has the potential of damaging a person’s health.

Naproxen has an elimination half-life of 12 to 17 hours, which means that you are okay to drink alcohol after this window of time has passed. With or without naproxen or other medications, you should only be drinking alcohol in moderation. 

Naproxen works by reducing the body’s production of prostaglandin, the natural substance that is responsible for inflammatory reactions, making it an effective medicine to reduce pain and swelling. However, the beneficial result of prostaglandin is to thicken and protect the stomach lining. Taking large amounts of naproxen or mixing it with alcohol can cause damage to the lining of the stomach, which can result in upset stomach, ulcers, gastritis, or stomach bleeding.

Some of the adverse effects of drinking alcohol while on naproxen include the following:

  • Holes in the stomach or intestine
  • Digestion issues or heartburn
  • Bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Blood in stool, or black or tar-like stools

Long-term effects of mixing naproxen and alcohol

Doctors always ask their patients what medications they are taking. The reason behind this question is that a combination of certain drugs can result in effects on a person’s health, which can even be fatal. It is important that you tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking in order to be clear about any possible hazards, even when you are taking NSAIDs like naproxen.

A person who mixes naproxen and alcohol does not only have a higher risk of developing serious side effects from the medication but also increases the chance of developing an addiction to alcohol. 

Taking naproxen and alcohol at the same time can result in issues such as:

  • Experiencing naproxen’s negative side effects 
  • High risk of becoming mentally and physically alcohol dependent 
  • A greater potential of becoming an alcohol addict
  • Increased risk of overdose.

Naproxen, when taken as directed by a doctor, is not a risky medication. However, combining any medication, such as naproxen, with alcohol can cause various issues and potentially lead to alcohol dependency.

If a person is mixing alcohol and naproxen on a regular basis, it could be a sign that he is suffering from alcohol abuse or addiction. 

When a person uses alcohol heavily, his body develops a tolerance for the substance and becomes dependent on drinking alcohol for him to function normally. If the person stops drinking alcohol suddenly, he is prone to experiencing withdrawal symptoms that could be dangerous to his health. 

What is Naproxen?

Naproxen is a medicine that is used to provide relief to pain from various conditions such as headaches, dental pain, muscle aches, tendonitis, and menstrual cramps. Naproxen is also used to reduce the pain, swelling, and joint stiffness caused by gout attacks, arthritis, and bursitis. This medicine is classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID. Naproxen works by blocking the production in the body of certain natural substances that cause inflammation and pain.

Naproxen is a relatively mild pain reliever but it comes with some unwanted side effects. The common side effects of this medicine include nausea, upset stomach, headache, heartburn, dizziness or drowsiness. It can also cause blood pressure to go up.

Naproxen may also cause some severe side effects such as mental or mood changes, easily bleeding or bruising, swelling of the hands or feet, stiff neck, vision changes, ringing in the ears, or feeling very tired. You need to seek immediate medical attention when you experience serious side effects.

In rare situations, Naproxen can also cause liver damage and disease. The symptoms of liver disease include extreme nausea and vomiting, dark urine, abdominal pain, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.