Ibuprofen and alcohol - is this compatible?


Already in the leaflet of the drug Ibuprofen is warned not to combine ibuprofen and alcohol as possible.
If alcohol is consumed while taking the painkiller ibuprofen, it can cause a variety of interactions that can be very harmful to the body.

Both ibuprofen and alcohol are broken down in the liver

Since both the drug ibuprofen and the alcohol are detoxified / metabolized by the liver, they affect themselves here directly.
Due to the greatly increased work for the liver in this combination, it can lead to a weakening of the effect of the painkiller and thus to strong pain sensation despite the medication.

It is also possible that the alcohol is degraded worse and therefore acts much stronger than the person is accustomed. The liver can be severely damaged by the double burden, which in the long term can lead to "fatty liver" or hepatitis or even organ failure.

The effects on the blood

Painkillers can interfere with blood clotting and "liquefy" the blood, causing the alcohol to spread faster in the body, resulting in increased "alcohol intoxication".

Effects on the gastrointestinal tract

Since both ibuprofen and alcohol can attack the gastric mucosa and the intestinal mucosa, the combination of ibuprofen and alcohol can lead to a greatly increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding up to the onset of the sensitive mucous membrane with severe sepsis and organ failure.

Effects on the nervous system

The alcohol may be more effective with ibuprofen intake and the responsiveness is more reduced than when consuming alcohol alone. In addition, the combination of ibuprofen and alcohol may increase drowsiness. In addition, the occurrence of headaches and dizziness is possible.

side effects

Combined use of ibuprofen and alcohol may cause serious health problems and significant side effects.

In the first place, there is an increased risk of damage to the gastrointestinal mucosa. In the worst case, ulcers or even life-threatening bleeding occur. But why is that?

Every day our stomach produces about two to three liters of so-called "gastric juice", which contributes an important part to the digestion of the food. To protect against the aggressive components of the digestive juice, the stomach normally forms a protective mucus layer ( mucin ) on its inner surface.

However, both ibuprofen and alcohol lower the production of this layer of mucus. In addition, alcohol promotes the regeneration of stomach acid! Even the sole intake of ibuprofen or alcohol can significantly damage the gastric mucosa. In combination, the harmful effects add up and the risk for eg ulcers increases enormously.

In the beginning, affected persons often experience a dull or burning pain behind the sternum, often accompanied by nausea, belching and feeling of fullness. In the worst case, gastric bleeding occurs unexpectedly and can sometimes be life threatening. They express themselves especially in bloody vomiting ("coffee break") or black "tarry stool".

Furthermore, the liver can be affected with concomitant administration of ibuprofen and alcohol. Since both agents are broken down, inter alia, via the organ, in particular a permanent, combined intake can increase the risk of liver cirrhosis. Far more dangerous for the liver, however, is the simultaneous administration of alcohol and the painkiller acetaminophen!
Read more under: Paracetamol and Alcohol - Is that Coming Together?

Basically, the overall physical condition and the dose or amount of alcohol and ibuprofen determine the extent of side effects or interactions. However, since accurate predictions are difficult, it is advisable to abstain completely from alcohol in a painkiller therapy with ibuprofen as far as possible. In addition, it must not be forgotten that in typical complaints such as headaches or body aches, alcohol causes at most an aggravation of the symptoms and should therefore in principle not be consumed in such cases.


Diarrhea, along with other digestive complaints, is a potential side effect that can occur when taking ibuprofen. Co-administration of alcohol may increase the incidence of diarrhea when taking ibuprofen. In general, co-consumption of alcohol may increase undesirable side effects of ibuprofen. Therefore, it is recommended to abstain completely from drinking alcohol when taking ibuprofen.


The most common side effects with taking ibuprofen are in the gastrointestinal tract. This includes nausea and vomiting. However, the incidence of such side effects varies widely from patient to patient and is also dependent on the dose as well as other factors such as pre-existing conditions.
Alcohol itself can also cause nausea and vomiting. When taken with ibuprofen, the risk of nausea and vomiting is increased. Therefore, alcohol consumption should be avoided, at least during drug therapy.


Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory analgesic, which also contributes to reducing fever to a low degree. It is not quite as strong an antipyretic as paracetamol. Nevertheless, a possible side effect of ibuprofen is fever.
In very rare cases, it can lead to a disruption of blood formation, which can manifest itself among other things by fever, sore throat, flu-like complaints or nosebleeds. Also for the consumption of alcohol is not conducive. The occurrence of side effects is favored by the simultaneous consumption of alcohol. Therefore, a waiver is only recommended.

Distance to alcohol consumption

In principle, there is no safe period between the intake of ibuprofen and alcohol. However, the longer you wait, the lower the likelihood of potential unwanted side effects. For example, it is not advisable to take ibuprofen with a glass of vodka. However, if you take a 400mg tablet for a headache at eight o'clock in the morning and drink a glass of red wine at ten o'clock in the evening, the risk of an interaction is unlikely.

Furthermore, the function of the liver and kidney is crucial because ibuprofen is excreted through the two organs. For example, if sufferers suffer from impaired kidney function, it takes a long time for the drug to be eliminated.

Always choose the smallest, necessary dose of pain medications. How to reduce the risk of unwanted interactions!

Intoxication / increased alcohol effect

Not infrequently, sufferers report a more intense alcohol intoxication with simultaneous use of ibuprofen. Both enhanced alcohol effect, as from a longer intoxication are described.

Alcohol and ibuprofen are broken down by enzymes in the liver. To put it simply, there are too few enzymes for both substances, so that alcohol lingers longer in the body and can have a stronger effect.

However, this effect is individually very different and varies in its expression! Low levels of alcohol usually do not increase the perception of ibuprofen.

More often, however, the cause can be found in the concomitant circumstances and not in an immediate context. For example, headaches or fever are often associated with loss of appetite. Those affected take a painkiller to remedy the situation, then feel better and drink alcohol. Due to the empty stomach, the alcohol now acts stronger and faster. In addition, fatigue or fatigue, triggered by the original symptoms, can be promoted by the consumption of alcohol.

Ibuprofen in a hangover

The term "hangover" is popularly understood as the physical and mental malaise following excessive consumption of alcohol, characterized in particular by headaches, nausea, vomiting and general feeling of weakness.

Why is that?

Alcohol quickly deprives the body of relatively large amounts of fluid and minerals ( dehydration ). In addition, intermediate degradation products, such as acetaldehyde, have a destructive effect on the body's own whiteness. This is how typical cat symptoms develop.

In addition to the usual home remedies ("hangover breakfast"), many sufferers take painkillers to combat the symptoms. In recent years, the administration of ibuprofen has proved to be relatively favorable. Low dosages should normally suffice. If you have a hangover, avoid taking acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin ® and alcohol) or acetaminophen, as it is more likely to cause bleeding or liver damage.

Drink plenty of water

During and after drinking alcohol, you should drink plenty of fluids. This is best suited mineral-containing water, as the body at the same time valuable minerals are supplied.

In this way, the dehydration and mineral loss can be largely compensated. Sweet drinks, however, are rather not recommended, the sweetener can promote the elimination of water.

Under certain circumstances, this simple measure is sufficient to prevent or relieve a hangover and to refrain from taking ibuprofen. Because even if the drug is available over the counter in the pharmacy, it can damage the body.

Does ibuprofen and alcohol change the effectiveness of the pill?

The effectiveness of the pill is not affected by the intake of ibuprofen or the consumption of alcohol. However, the effectiveness of the pill is limited when it comes to vomiting when taking ibuprofen and the consumption of alcohol. Follow the instructions in the package leaflet of your pill. As a rule, vomiting resembles a missed dose within 4 hours of taking the pill. It must then be taken within 12 hours another pill to ensure protection.

Making Herbal Glycerites (December 2019).

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