Aleve and Alcohol


What is Aleve?

Aleve is a Brand name for a pain reliever medicine that contains naproxen sodium as an active ingredient.


It is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which is used as an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving agent for various conditions such as: dental pain, headaches, muscle pain, menstrual cramps, tendinitis (inflammation or irritation of a tendon, a thick cord that attaches bone to muscle), and for the treatment of pain, joint stiffness and swelling caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, bursitis and gout.

Aleve can also be used to temporarily reduce fever and for the treatment of common cold. These drugs are available in the form of capsule and tablets in dose of 220mg of naproxen-sodium.

Other Brand names for medications containing naproxen are:

  • Anaprox,
  • EC-Naprosyn,
  • Flanax Pain Reliever,
  • Leader Naproxen Sodium,
  • Midol Extended Relief,
  • Naprelan 375 and
  •  Naprosyn.

How does Aleve work in the body?

Naproxen inhibits synthesis of prostaglandins (substances in the body that play a key role in pain and inflammation processes in body tissues) by inhibiting at least 2 cyclooxygenase (COX) isoenzymes, COX-1 and COX-2.

Inhibition of COX-2 leads to the anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic effects while the inhibition of COX-1 may cause gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers.

COX-1-dependent prostaglandins play a crucial homeostatic role in physiological functions (gastrointestinal cytoprotection, aggregation of platelets and modulation of vascular muscle tone) while COX-2-dependent prostaglandins play dominant roles in pathophysiologic processes (inflammation and cancer, or physiological processes such as endothelial vasoprotection).

If NSAID drug less inhibits the COX-1, less side effect would be caused. Studies showed that naproxen has a lowest risk of provoking heart attack compared to all other NSAIDs.

This drug may also inhibit chemotaxis, decrease proinflammatory cytokine activity, alter lymphocyte activity, and inhibit neutrophil aggregation – these effects may also contribute to anti-inflammatory activity.

Why is alcohol bad for our body?

Along with nicotine and caffeine, alcohol is the most widely used and abused addictive drug, that has a number of effects in human body. Alcohol has: anxiolytic, mood-enhancing and sedative, motor incoordination efects, reaction slowing and judgment impairing effects on our body.

At very high doses alcohol can act as anesthetic producing the loss of consciousness. In addition, as a result of acute intoxication, alcohol can produce nausea and vomiting, and also headache accompanied by thirst and general misery.

Chronic alcohol abuse over years can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis and heart disease such as alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Studies also showed that alcohol abuse can increase in the risk for many types of cancer.

Alcohol abuse is a major public health problem that leads to increased risk of injury and death, as well as poor functioning in society.

How alcohol works in the body?

Pharmacologically alcohol affects the CNS, Hormones, Liver, Gastrointestinal, Cardiovascular system, Kidney and Metabolism. In Central Nervous System alcohol causes both, inhibition and stimulation in different ways.

Inhibition is caused by potentiating the specific subunits of the GABA receptor, which activates the protein kinase C and causes sedation. In addition, alcohol inhibits the release of excitatory neurotransmitters such as glutamate and acetylcholine.

Stimulatory effects are caused after D2 – Dopamine receptors stimulation causing the release of endorphins and resulting in Euphoria. Larger alcohol amounts may cause vasodilatation, increased Blood pressure, and alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

In liver, alcohol causes fatty changes which are reversible, and caused by lipid metabolism impairment and mobilization of peripheral fat. Prolonged alcohol administration can cause damage of liver tissue leading to diffuse fibrous scar formation resulting in Cirrhosis.

Alcohol causes diuresis through the inhibition of Antidiuretic Hormone – ADH secretion. Alcohol can decrease the production of testosterone resulting in impotence.

Labor is inhibited through lowering oxytocin secretion. Acute presence of alcohol in blood will inhibit the oxidation of drugs by saturation of cytochrome P450, promoting the effects of these drugs.

CYP 450 Oxidation of many classes of drugs can be inhibited if alcohol is present; these include: Opioids, psychotropic drugs, Hypnotics, vasodilators, anticoagulants, analgesics, antidiabetics, anticonvulsants and antibiotics.

However, chronic consumption of alcohol induces the CYP450 drug-metabolizing system, increasing the oxidation of drugs in sober or abstinent alcoholics and lowering the effects of the drugs administrated at the same time.

aleve and alcohol and liver damage

Can Patients take Aleve with Alcohol?

Aleve is one of the most commonly used pain reliever drug that is available as OTC preparation to consumers. Combination of Aleve and other drugs that can depress normal functions of the body may increase the risk of undesired side effects.

Aleve and alcohol combination may not cause dangerous side effects at first, but if they are used together for a longer period on a continual basis, they can cause serious side effects to the body.

Also, alcohol can cause serious health issues if it is used for a long period of time, which is why this combination should be avoided.

Even if patients don’t drink alcohol while taking Aleve, health risks are still present. Aleve can stay in the bloodstream for up to 12 hours. Alcohol can also stay in the bloodstream for the same period of time, but it mostly depends on how much is consumed.

If these two substances are consumed within short period of time, they can increase the risk ofstomach, liver, and kidney side effects. Aleve, like all other NSAID, is known to increase the gastrointestinal bleeding risk, that’s why alcohol can amplify the risks that are associated with Aleve.

Patients should know that Alcohol is a substance that can cause inflammation and ruptures within the stomach, which enhances the NSAID side effects.

Alcohol may inhibit the digestion and absorption of foods and nutrients, thus weakening the pain relieving action of NSAIDS. Furthermore, alcohol has negative effects on the central and peripheral nervous system, by slowing down the pain perception in the body.

The successive use of Aleve and alcohol does not promote pain-relieving action as many patients might think. Generally, Health professionals do not recommend drinking alcohol when they have taken Aleve within 12 hours.

Studies showed that alcohol consumption and the prolonged use of NSAIDS can lead to stomach bleeds that can alter the pH of the stomach. Thus, alcohol consumption can lead to more severe health concerns.

Side effects of Aleve and alcohol combination

Patients should never drink alcohol right after drug is taken; combining these substances increases the risk of drug interaction which can lead to side. The table below shows the incidence of side effects after Aleve administration in recommendable doses. The incidence can be increased if it is taken together with Alcohol.

Common Side effects 1-10 % Constipation (3-9%), Abdominal pain (3-9%), Drowsiness (3-9%), Dizziness (3-9%), Heartburn (3-9%), Nausea (3-9%), Edema (3-9%), Headache (3-9%), Fluid retention (3-9%), Dyspnea (3-9%), Lightneadedness (<3%), GI bleeding (1-4%), GI ulcers (1-4%), GI perforation (1-4%), Stomatitis (<3%), Hearing disturbances (<3%), Diverticulitis (1-3%), Diarrhea (1-3%)
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