Ibuprofen and Alcohol

by on June 4, 2012

In general, alcohol should be avoided while a patient is on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen. Drinking alcohol and taking ibuprofen can lead to a higher rate of adverse effects and interactions, especially these connected with the digestive and the central nervous system.

Both substances have an irritating effect on the stomach lining. Furthermore, ibuprofen blocks the synthesis of prostaglandins which are known to have a protective effect on the stomach mucosa. The concomitant use of alcohol and ibuprofen can lead to a higher risk of development of gastrointestinal adverse effects, such as nausea, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal pain and especially of gastrointestinal bleeding. Symptoms of gastrointestinal bleeding can be vomiting blood, diarrhea and black color of the excrements. If you notice any symptoms of bleeding, immediately discontinue the use of ibuprofen and call your doctor. The combination of alcohol and ibuprofen should especially be avoided by people that have risk factors for gastrointestinal bleeding, such as gastritis, stomach or duodenal ulcer or previous episodes of bleeding.

However, the moderate consumption of alcohol (for example a glass of wine) is acceptable in case a patient is not receiving long-term treatment with ibuprofen and/or high doses and has no other risk factors. In order to minimize the irritating effect of ibuprofen on the stomach mucosa, it is recommended to take it with plenty of water and after a meal.

Alcohol can also increase some of the central nervous system adverse effects, such as headache and dizziness.

People having any sort of liver or kidney dysfunction should by all means avoid the combination of alcohol and ibuprofen as it can additionally aggravate their condition.


In case you have been prescribed long-term treatment with ibuprofen, you have any other diseases or you take any other over-the-counter or prescription drugs along with ibuprofen, do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider about the safety of drinking alcohol alongside the treatment with ibuprofen.