Why You Should Never Take Your Pain Medication with Alcohol

You may have noticed that various common pain medications including both prescription and over-the-counter ones come with a warning label. This label denotes “Do not mix with alcohol.” No matter whether you take painkillers regularly or take them to relieve short-term discomfort – you should always take this warning seriously. But why?

Alcohol, on its own, can impact the body in many crucial ways. It alters your brain chemistry and depresses your nervous system, etc. Taking alcohol while taking pain medication intensifies its impact and leads to dangerous unexpected side effects. The common side effects are loss of consciousness, organ damage, and even death.

Mixing Alcohol with Over-the-counter Painkillers

When you have a headache or a strained muscle, you can get fast pain relief with over-the-counter pain medicines without any prescription. Indeed, taking over-the-counter pain meds usually involves lower risk. But when you combine them with alcohol, there can be serious adverse effects.

Here are some examples of the common over-the-counter pain medications that you should not mix with alcohol:

  • Ibuprofen

Products such as Motrin, Midol, or Advil, contain ibuprofen can cause stomach upset even when taken as recommended. And when you drink alcohol with these painkilling drugs, your system increases the risk of stomach problems. It can even cause gastrointestinal bleeding.

  • Acetaminophen

Tylenol is a safe, effective pain reliever when recommended by an expert. But when you mix it with alcohol, it can lead to incurable liver damage.

  • Aspirin

Many people prefer taking a low dose of aspirin every day to reduce the chances of heart disease or stroke. But using aspirin and alcohol together regularly can actually increase those risks. It can lead to internal bleeding, kidney failure, stroke, etc.

Mixing Alcohol with Prescription Pain Medications

It is highly dangerous to combine over-the-counter pain meds with alcohol since the result can be deadly. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that the overdose deaths involved with prescription opioids have dramatically increased in recent years. And, alcohol consumption highly increases the risk of an opioid overdose.

Taking Alcohol with pain-meds like Vicodin, Percocet, or Oxycontin, can increase the effect. But, as a side effect, it will make you feel extremely drowsy and it can even cause death.

So, how to avoid the harmful side effects of mixing painkillers with alcohol?

It’s always best to consult with your pharmacist or doctor for more specific instructions on medication management and alcohol consumption. They can help you avoid deadly interactions.

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