Naproxen is a pain reliever commonly taken for muscle and joint aches. While naproxen is generally safe in small doses, both naproxen and alcohol come with their own set of potential health risks, and mixing the two drugs can produce dangerous side effects.
It is possible to take naproxen without harmful side effects, but misusing naproxen or mixing it with alcohol can cause damage to a person’s health.
What Is Naproxen?
Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that are taken to treat pain and tenderness associated with muscle aches, joint aches, menstrual periods, and various forms of arthritis. It comes in tablet form or extension (liquid) form.
Naproxen is most commonly sold under the brand name Aleve, but can also be manufactured and sold as Anaprox, Flanax, and Naprosyn. Sometimes naproxen is part of a combination medication, such as Aleve PM. Regardless of the brand name, naproxen comes with certain risks, especially if misused.
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Can You Mix Naproxen And Alcohol?
Because naproxen works to reduce prostaglandin in the body, which is responsible for inflammatory reactions, the drug is typically used to reduce pain and swelling. However, the positive parts of prostaglandin thicken and protect the stomach lining, so taking large amounts of naproxen or taking naproxen with alcohol can cause damage to the stomach lining. This can result in chronic upset stomach, ulcers, stomach bleeding, or gastritis.
Some of the risks of drinking alcohol with naproxen include:
- holes in the stomach or intestine
- heartburn and digestion issues
- vomit that has blood or looks like coffee grounds
- blood in the stool, black or tar-like stools
Side Effects Of Naproxen
Taking naproxen as directed is generally not going to pose a high health risk. However, taking naproxen more often than necessary, in higher doses than directed, or in combination with other NSAIDs or alcohol can greatly increase the risk of these side effects.
Some of the side effects associated with naproxen use include:
- back pain
- increase in blood pressure
- ringing in the ears
- yellowed eyes or skin
Long-Term Effects Of Mixing Naproxen And Alcohol
There is a reason health care professionals always ask what medications their patients are taking—because combining certain drugs can have adverse effects on your health and can even be fatal. Even with NSAIDs like naproxen, it’s important to tell your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking in order to be clear about any potential hazards.
If someone mixes naproxen and alcohol, not only do they run a higher risk of developing negative side effects from the medication, but they also increase their chance of developing an addiction to alcohol.
Mixing naproxen and alcohol can lead to issues such as:
- experiencing the negative side effects of naproxen
- heightened risk of becoming physically and mentally dependent on alcohol
- potential chance of becoming addicted to alcohol
- increased risk of overdose
When taken as directed, naproxen is not generally a risky medication. But combining any medication with alcohol, including naproxen, can cause various issues and potentially lead to a dependency on alcohol.
Medically Supervised Detox Programs For Alcohol Abuse
If someone is mixing alcohol and naproxen regularly, it may be a sign they are suffering from alcohol abuse or addiction. If you or someone close to you is facing alcohol addiction, there are effective treatment options available. Facing alcohol addiction can feel overwhelming, but it is treatable through the use of detox services, medication-assisted treatment, and therapeutic alcohol rehab facilities.
When an individual uses alcohol heavily, their body develops a tolerance to the substance and becomes dependent on having alcohol to function normally. If an individual stops drinking suddenly, they will likely experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Some of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:
- blurred thinking
- enlarged pupils
- clammy skin
While most drug withdrawals are uncomfortable, they are not usually considered life-threatening. However, alcohol withdrawal can be fatal if not properly monitored. Most hospitals and drug rehab facilities will have detox services available on-site that include medication, supervision, and support throughout the withdrawal process.
Treatment For Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
After someone has completed detoxification, they should consider their treatment options for the next stage of recovery. Most cities have residential (inpatient) treatment, partial hospitalization programs (full-day treatment), and intensive outpatient care (half-day treatment).
Inpatient treatment is the most secure level of care, as patients stay overnight and are provided with 24-hour supervision. During the day, patients engage in various therapies to build their recovery, including individual and group counseling, recreation, support groups, and medication-assisted treatment.
Partial hospitalization programs and outpatient treatment offer more flexible scheduling for those who may be unable to attend residential care. These programs will be less supervised but will contain many of the same treatment components in their rigorous schedules.
Most quality rehab facilities will also provide specialized care for co-occurring disorders to serve those who suffer from both a substance use disorder and any additional mental health diagnoses, such as bipolar disorder.
To learn more about naproxen and alcohol, or for questions about treatment for alcohol use disorder, reach out to one of our specialists today.