Alcohol consumption with medications puts individuals at high risk and can manifest as serious conditions in certain patients. The risk is higher when it comes to OTC medications due to wrong assumptions on the part of individuals. For instance, OTC medications are wrongly assumed to be safe and free from dangerous drug interactions, by virtue of being available over the counter. Patients prescribed medications are typically advised by the specialists about contraindications and the need to stay away from alcohol. In the absence of similar advice in the case of OTC medications, individuals end up consuming drugs and alcohol in dangerous combinations. Here is all that you need to know about mixing Ibuprofen and alcohol.
Common side effects when Ibuprofen and alcohol are mixed
There are four different types of effects experienced when Ibuprofen and alcohol are mixed – kidney damage, gastrointestinal bleeding, cardiovascular problems and a clear lack of concentration. While the first three effects are direct health complications, poor concentration as a result of mixing the two, can result in consequences that seriously impact routines. For instance, lack of concentration as a result of mixing the two can seriously jeopardize important actions such as driving or working with machinery. Individuals who are either disoriented or with impaired concentration levels can pose risks to themselves as well as others. This makes the combination dangerous, potentially endangering lives.
Gastrointestinal bleeding – as a consequence of mixing Ibuprofen and alcohol
Among the health related side effects of mixing Ibuprofen and alcohol, gastrointestinal bleeding is relatively common. As a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug, Ibuprofen is known to have an impact on the digestive system. The mechanism of action of the medication and the active ingredients result in irritation of the digestive tract and can result in the formation of ulcers. Consequently, ibuprofen is always recommended to be consumed only after food intake. The possibility of perforations in the gastrointestinal tract is high, and this can result in bleeding. Individuals who consume alcohol with ibuprofen are at high risk of bleeding internally, without being aware of the perforations. This can be rapid and can also be fatal at times.
Kidney damage from Ibuprofen and alcohol combination
The functions of the kidneys is primarily the filtering of toxins in the body. Alcohol has a high load of toxins and this causes stress on the kidneys. Ibuprofen also has toxin content and this makes it difficult for the kidneys to effectively perform filtration. The combination of alcohol and ibuprofen at the same time brings excessive stress on the kidneys and this can result in long term damage. Renal impairment is a possibility as a result of abuse of this combination of ibuprofen and alcohol combination. The visible symptoms of kidney damage arising out of any reason includes swollen limb extremities – the feet, ankles, and hands. Patients are likely to quickly end up being tired with shortness of breath.
Conclusive evidence of a link between cardiovascular issues and unhealthy drug/alcohol combinations
There is conclusive evidence to link cardiovascular health issues with unhealthy drug and alcohol combinations. The mechanism of action of NSAIDs result in an undesirable impact on cardiovascular health. Specifically, the impact on COX-2 inhibition is regarded as the main reason for the effect of NSAIDs on cardiovascular events. The risk of such events include myocardial ischemia and stroke, as a result of endothelial injury. Alcohol is known to aggravate high blood pressure in patients as it is difficult to maintain the right or desired levels of blood pressure. The combination of alcohol and ibuprofen, then becomes a potentially deadly combination and is known to result in cardiovascular events. The speed with which this occurs makes it dangerous for patients with known high blood pressure levels. Commonly reported symptoms include slurred speech, pain in the chest, weakness on one side of the body, and shortness of breath.
Precautions and tell-tale symptoms that warrant medical intervention
The following symptoms are indicative of some abnormal condition when a patient on ibuprofen consumes alcohol. Whenever any of the following symptoms are experienced it is necessary to seek urgent medical intervention. For instance, paint in the stomach that is persistent in nature, abnormal pulse, dizziness, black stools, and vomit that is similar to coffee are all indicative of some reaction. I tis necessary to seek attention at the earliest and get off both ibuprofen and alcohol immediately. The risks are compounded when the patient is older as the absorption and elimination rates in older individuals are different from that of younger age groups.
Recommended gap between intake of alcohol and ibuprofen
While it is necessary to avoid combining Ibuprofen and alcohol, it may sometimes be necessary for individuals to take both, but with sufficient gap. While the risks will not be fully eliminated, the risks are considerably reduced when the gap between intake of alcohol and ibuprofen is adequate. The ideal gap between the two is one full day. This effectively means that if you have consumed alcohol, you need a gap of atleast one day before you take ibuprofen. This is necessary to ensure that the alcohol has been broken down and eliminated from your system. This depends on the amount of alcohol consumed, and the gape of one day is relatively safe, factoring in heavy drinking.
The need for intake of the right dosage
The classification of ibuprofen as an OTC medication makes it appealing for individuals to take higher doses. It is necessary to follow suggested dosage management practices when on ibuprofen. For instance, experts advise that ibuprofen needs to be consumed for as short a period as possible and should not be used as long term medication unless specifically prescribed for certain conditions. Many formulations of commonly used medications contain ibuprofen in proportionate quantities, and it is therefore necessary to understand the composition of medications. This will ensure that you do not end up taking more ibuprofen as a result of all the medication that is being consumed. For instance, medications for cold and headaches contain ibuprofen and individuals who consume both need to remember that this could result in high intake of ibuprofen unknowingly.