Drug and Alcohol

Naproxen and Alcohol: The Impacts of Mixing Naproxen and Alcohol on Your Health

What happens when you mix naproxen with alcohol? We examine the ways this NSAID and alcohol can be harmful when combined. Learn more in our blog.

What Happens When You Mix Naproxen With Alcohol?

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

August 11, 2023

The Edge Treatment Center

In today's fast-paced world, when people seek to maintain their best health amid demanding schedules, making informed decisions about medicine use is vital. Naproxen is a commonly prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID). It is frequently used to treat pain and inflammation.

However, taking naproxen and drinking alcohol might have severe consequences and pose health risks.

Understanding the potential risks of mixing naproxen and alcohol is necessary for making informed health decisions. We'll discuss the potential side effects, risks, and whether the combination is addictive. In addition, we'll discuss recognizing the indicators of naproxen and alcohol abuse and the potential treatment choices.

Naproxen and Alcohol: What Is Naproxen?

Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID). It belongs to the propionic acid derivatives class of drugs. It is often used for pain relief, reducing inflammation, and even managing various illnesses such as arthritis, menstrual cramps, headaches, and muscular pains.

Naproxen works by preventing the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are the chemicals in the body that contribute to pain and inflammation.

This drug is available in both prescription and over-the-counter formulations & strengths. Prescription naproxen is often used for more severe or chronic problems. Over-the-counter naproxen, sold under the brand name Aleve, is commonly used for short-term pain relief.

Naproxen is well-known for its long-lasting effects, which might persist for several hours. The dosage is determined by the treated condition and individual factors like age, weight, and medical history. It is necessary to stick to the suggested dosage and duration of treatment as specified by a healthcare expert or on the packaging for over-the-counter use.

Naproxen and Alcohol: Are There Risks to Naproxen?

Naproxen, being an NSAID, carries various risks and potential side effects. Stomach upset, heartburn, sleepiness, dizziness, & fluid retention are its typical side effects. More significant side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney problems, and cardiovascular concerns, may occur in certain situations, especially with extended or high-dose use.

Thus, it is essential to use naproxen under the supervision of a medical expert. Also, be aware of any prior medical conditions or medications that may interfere with it.

What Is Naproxen Used For?

Naproxen is a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medication. It has many different uses, including:

  • Treating arthritis

  • It is useful in treating musculoskeletal conditions such as tendinitis, bursitis, and gout

  • Naproxen is frequently used to treat menstrual cramps

  • It can help with headaches, such as tension headaches & migraines

  • Naproxen can be used to treat dental pain after treatments or to treat oral inflammation

  • Naproxen works by blocking enzymes involved in the generation of prostaglandins

  • It helps relieve pain, stiffness, swelling, and inflammation

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Understanding What Happens When Naproxen and Alcohol Are Mixed

Understanding the connection between naproxen and alcohol can be beneficial for individuals using naproxen for pain relief or medical reasons. Both substances have potent effects on the body, and their combination can enhance the dangers and problems.

Naproxen is a medication that is often used to treat pain & inflammation. It acts by blocking the formation of cyclooxygenases. Cyclooxygenases are the enzymes involved in the creation of prostaglandins, which are substances that contribute to pain and inflammation. Alcohol is a CNS depressant with soothing properties.

When naproxen and alcohol are combined, they can have additive effects on the GI system. Thereby increasing the risk of stomach ulcers, bleeding, and gastrointestinal discomfort. Both substances can strain the liver and mixing them can raise the risk of liver injury or impairment.

Furthermore, alcohol can disrupt naproxen metabolism in the liver, thus affecting the way the medicine is metabolized and removed from the body. This can cause changes in medication levels and potentially raise the chance of naproxen side effects.

The interaction between naproxen and alcohol varies depending on individual sensitivity, dosage, and frequency of usage. That is why it is advised to speak with a healthcare provider before consuming alcohol while taking naproxen.

How Long Does Naproxen Take to Kick In?

The time it takes for naproxen to take effect varies from person to person. It usually takes 30 minutes to an hour for naproxen to take action. However, the therapeutic impact may require a few days of consistent administration.

Naproxen comes in a variety of forms, including immediate-release and extended-release tablets. Immediate-release pills typically begin acting rapidly, offering quicker effects. Extended-release tablets are designed to gently release medication over time, resulting in longer-lasting effects.

Individual factors such as metabolism, food in the stomach, and the medical condition can affect the time naproxen takes effect. 

Is Naproxen A Narcotic?

No, naproxen is not a narcotic. It's a type of drug called a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Naproxen helps with pain and inflammation in the body, but it doesn't work the same way as narcotics. Narcotics are strong pain medications like morphine or codeine.

Naproxen is safer and less likely to cause addiction or dependence than narcotics. However, it's still essential to use naproxen as directed and be aware of potential side effects.

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Side Effects of Mixing Naproxen and Alcohol

When naproxen and alcohol are combined, various side effects occur, increasing the likelihood of severe reactions. Awareness of these potential adverse effects becomes essential to make informed decisions regarding consuming these substances concurrently. Let's look at some naproxen and alcohol side effects.

Increased Gastrointestinal Effects

Both naproxen and alcohol can irritate the stomach and gut lining. Both can magnify these effects when combined. Their combination increases the risk of stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, and abdominal pain.

Liver Damage

Alcohol is primarily metabolized in the liver, and so is naproxen to some extent. When alcohol and naproxen are combined, the liver is put under additional strain, which might result in liver damage or reduced liver function.

Increased Effects on The Central Nervous System

Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, and mixing it with naproxen, which can also have minor sedative effects, can cause sleepiness, dizziness, and poor motor coordination.

High Blood Pressure

Both naproxen and alcohol can cause blood pressure to rise. Mixing them can amplify this effect, which can be especially dangerous for people with hypertension or cardiovascular disease.

Kidney Issues

Naproxen can impair kidney function, especially when taken in large dosages or over an extended period. Alcohol has also been shown to impair kidney function. Combining the two substances may raise the risk of kidney damage or worsen pre-existing kidney issues.

Increased Dehydration

Dehydration can be caused by both alcohol and naproxen. Combined, it can amplify this impact, increasing the risk of dehydration, especially in hot or humid conditions.

Increased Accidental Risk

Alcohol has the potential to impair judgment, coordination, and reaction times. When alcohol is combined with naproxen, which might have sedative effects, the possibility of an accident or injury increases.

Symptoms of Naproxen and Alcohol Abuse

Identifying the symptoms of naproxen and alcohol abuse is vital for identifying and dealing with any substance misuse or addiction issues. While naproxen is not commonly associated with addiction, it is crucial to be aware of the signs and symptoms that may occur when combined with alcohol.

Increased Consumption

Individuals who abuse naproxen and alcohol may gradually increase their intake. This can include taking higher doses of naproxen than prescribed or consuming more alcohol than anticipated.

Persistent Cravings

Cravings for naproxen and alcohol, mainly when combined, can be a strong indicator of substance addiction. These strong cravings and desires to use drugs or alcohol might be challenging to manage or resist.

Physical Health Issues

Long-term naproxen and alcohol consumption can result in various physical health issues.  Examples include gastrointestinal issues such as stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, or liver damage.  People may have regular stomach pain, digestive problems, or abnormal liver function tests.

Cognitive and Behavioral Changes

Substance misuse can impair cognitive function and cause behavioral abnormalities. Naproxen and alcohol abusers may experience memory issues, difficulty concentrating, mood changes, irritability, and impaired judgment. 

They may also participate in risky behaviors or activities they would not typically do when sober.

Neglect of Responsibilities

Individuals who abuse naproxen and alcohol may neglect their personal, professional, or social responsibilities. 

Examples are failure to fulfill professional or academic duties, ignoring personal relationships, or having financial issues due to prioritizing substance use over other responsibilities.

Social Withdrawal 

Individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol may withdraw from friends and family, preferring the company of the substances to social engagements. They may withdraw from formerly enjoyable hobbies or lose interest in previously important relationships.

Tolerance and Withdrawal Symptoms

Individuals who overuse naproxen and alcohol for an extended period may build a tolerance to both, requiring greater doses to obtain the desired effects. Withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, or bodily discomfort may occur while attempting to stop or reduce substance usage.

Is the Combination of Naproxen and Alcohol Addictive?

Mixing naproxen and alcohol is a risky and inadvisable practice with several side effects. While it may not directly cause addiction, it can amplify the dangers associated with both substances and result in negative effects.  

While naproxen is not addictive, mixing it with alcohol can create a risky setting in which addictive behavior can develop. Alcohol's effects can lead to increased drinking and possibly alcohol misuse or addiction. The combination of naproxen and alcohol can have serious health effects. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, impairing cognitive function and judgment. 

Naproxen and alcohol can have several undesirable effects. These adverse effects can become more pronounced and continue longer when taken jointly. Mixing naproxen and alcohol can result in adverse medication interactions. Alcohol can disrupt naproxen metabolism and excretion, increasing its concentration and prolonging its effects. This can increase the risks and adverse effects connected with naproxen use.

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How Much Alcohol is Safe To Consume?

When consuming alcohol while taking naproxen, you should drink only in moderation. The [National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Prevention (NIAAA)](https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/) defines moderate drinking as no more than one standard drink per hour for women and two drinks per hour for men, with no more than 4 drinks a day for women and no more than 7 drinks a day for men.

It's important to note that alcohol can increase the risk of stomach or intestinal bleeding, so individuals taking naproxen should avoid drinking large amounts of alcoholic beverages. It is also worth noting that different types of drinks contain varying levels of alcohol, so it's important to know how much alcohol is in each drink.

How Much Naproxen is Safe to Take?

When taking naproxen, it is important to take the recommended dosage as instructed by your doctor. Naproxen comes in 375mg and 500mg tablets; do not exceed more than 1 tablet twice a day. Do not take more than 1500mg of naproxen per day. If you have questions about how much naproxen is safe to take, seek guidance from a healthcare professional.

When taking any medication, it is important to follow all instructions and precautions given by your doctor or pharmacist. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking naproxen as this can increase the risk of side effects such as stomach bleeding or kidney problems. If you have any questions about how much alcohol is safe to consume while taking naproxen, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

It is also important to note that naproxen can cause an increased sensitivity to the effects of alcohol, and may lead to intoxication more quickly than usual. If you find yourself feeling lightheaded or disorientated after drinking while taking naproxen, you should stop drinking immediately and seek medical attention if needed.

Treatment Strategies for Naproxen and Alcohol Misuse

Treating naproxen and alcohol misuse or abuse requires a comprehensive approach that treats both addiction's physical and psychological elements. The following are some possible treatment approaches.

Medical Detoxification

Lowering naproxen and alcohol use gradually under medical supervision. Monitoring and management of withdrawal symptoms to ensure safety and comfort.

Behavioral Therapies

Addresses root causes and develop healthy coping skills; cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be used. Motivational interviewing enhances motivation for change and sets goals. Contingency planning to create incentives for substance abstinence.

Support Groups

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) for peer support and guidance. Sharing experiences, receiving support, and learning from people in similar circumstances.

Individual Counseling

Counseling sessions with a therapist or counselor on an individual basis. Identifying personal triggers, establishing coping techniques, and investigating underlying causes of use.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

An integrated approach to co-occurring mental health issues and substance abuse involves treating dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis is the combination of a substance abuse disorder and a mental health issue. Treating both conditions at the same time is part of comprehensive care.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Consider drugs like naltrexone or acamprosate to help with cravings and withdrawal symptoms. For best results, combine therapy and counseling.

Relapse Prevention and Aftercare

Therapy or counseling sessions should be continued to maintain progress and address remaining issues. Participation in community-based programs or support groups also helps. Developing healthy coping mechanisms and relapse prevention strategies are key to long-term success.

Finally, building a solid support network to provide continual encouragement and accountability is a great strategy.

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Prescription Drug Addiction and Alcohol Abuse are Treatable Conditions. Reach Out to The Edge Treatment Center Today

Mixing any drug with another, like naproxen and alcohol, isn’t just dangerous – it’s a sign of a bigger problem. Alcohol abuse and prescription drug abuse can seem hopeless, but they’re both treatable conditions. With the right help, anyone can pull back from the brink and build a life worth living.

The Edge Treatment Center uses proven and effective evidence-based treatment to help people free themselves from addiction. We’ll help you develop the coping mechanisms and tools you need to leave alcohol behind. If you’d like to learn more about our effective prescription drug and alcohol addiction programs, just reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today.

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