Aspirin and Alcohol

by on May 29, 2012

Aspirin is one of the most commonly used over-the-counter medicine that is used for relieving mild to moderate pain and for reducing fever and inflammation.  Because of it's widespread use, many consumers may experience potential side effects and interactions if Aspirin is combined with alcohol use.

Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking aspirin?

It is better to avoid mixing alcohol use with that of aspirin. Aspirin, as with all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs is known to increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. The occurrence of gastrointestinal complications is more common when alcohol is combined with aspirin. So patients that have risk factors, such as frequent episodes of heartburn, gastritis, ulcers, a history of gastrointestinal bleeding, liver dysfunction should avoid the consumption of alcohol together with aspirin.

Sometimes patients that have been prescribed low doses of aspirin as a continuous prophylaxis of thrombosis worry that they will not be able to drink alcohol anymore. Although it is true that combining aspirin and alcohol should be avoided, moderate consumption maybe be acceptable. A glass of wine for example is not likely to cause any complications provided the patient has no risk factors.

Moreover, moderate consumption of alcohol has shown beneficial effect on the prevention of heart disease in some studies. In general, alcohol should be avoided whenever it is possible when taking aspirin but occasional moderate consumption is regarded relatively safe in people with no history of gastrointestinal diseases. To minimize the risk, aspirin should be taken after a meal and with plenty of water.

A combination of large quantities of alcohol and/or high doses of aspirin should not be taken as they can cause gastrointestinal bleeding. Both substances have local irritating effect on the stomach mucosa. The inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis by aspirin makes the lining of the stomach more vulnerable to aggressive factors.

Some studies show that aspirin inhibits the activity of gastric alcohol dehydrogenase - an enzyme that eliminates alcohol. As a consequence, the blood concentration of alcohol may be higher and its effects stronger.

Do not hesitate to discuss the matter with your healthcare provider.