Celebrex And Alcohol

by on May 8, 2012

In general, it is unwise and unsafe to consume excessive amounts of alcohol while taking Celebrex (celecoxib).

Celebrex is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which is commonly used for the treatment of different types of arthritis, menstrual cramps, and acute pain. Like other NSAIDs, mixing Celebrex with alcohol can lead to fatal consequences. As a matter of fact, both medical professionals and the drug manufacturer caution against this combination.

Side Effects & Interactions from Concurrent Use of Alcohol

Increased Risk for Gastrointestinal Ulcer and Bleeding

Celebrex works in the body by blocking the production of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which triggers the inflammatory response. Unlike other NSAIDs, this medication does not seem to affect COX-1 which is an enzyme that protects the stomach against gastric acids. Although patients taking Celebrex have lesser chance of developing stomach or intestinal ulcers and bleeding, the risk is not completely eliminated.

On the contrary, taking alcohol can directly irritate the gastrointestinal lining which can result in increased gastric acid. This irritation renders the stomach unable to protect itself against the effects of Celebrex thereby increasing the risk for ulceration. Consuming large amounts of alcohol or other contraindicated medications for long periods of time further increases the chances of harmful effects.

Stomach ulcers may occur anytime during the treatment. It can happen without any warning sign and can lead to death if not carefully managed. To avoid fatal consequences due to gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding, people taking Celebrex are advised to avoid drinking alcohol. If you have consumed a large amount of alcohol, contact your healthcare provider. Report any signs of gastrointestinal bleeding such as black tarry stools, blood in the stool, coffee-ground vomit or coughing up blood.

Increased Risk for Liver Damage

Celebrex and alcohol are both metabolized in the liver. Excessive consumption of alcohol can affect the ability of the liver to metabolize the drug. This can result in either poor clearance of the drug and potential overdose or possibly liver damage. Patients with hepatic impairment are at higher risk of developing serious complications when these substances are combined.

Increased Risk for Cardiovascular Side Effects

Taking alcohol and Celebrex can also result in unwanted effects on the heart since both of these substances affect the organ one way or another. For instance, Celebrex, as well as other NSAIDs, have the greater chance of causing cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Meanwhile, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is also associated with cardiovascular problems. Taking these substances together potentiates each other’s effect on the heart; therefore it is recommended that alcohol be avoided while taking Celebrex.

Although more studies are needed concerning this drug interaction, the possible risk can prove to be life-threatening.

Final Thoughts

In order to avoid these fatal consequences, compliance with the prescribed medication regimen is imperative. Keep all appointments with your healthcare provider. Your physician will evaluate you for any unwanted side effects or drug interactions. And most importantly, avoid drinking alcohol while you are on Celebrex.