We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Is It Safe to Combine Naproxen and Alcohol?

By Susan Abe
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), naproxen is used to treat inflammation and pain associated with arthritis, bursitis, gout or menstrual cramps, and for other pathologies including Paget's disease. Despite some lower dose NSAIDs drugs' over-the-counter availability, these medications are not without the potential for life-threatening side effects. Naproxen is known to cause abrupt irritation, bleeding, ulceration and even perforation in the gastrointestinal (GI) system. The chance of these potential emergency GI side effects increases with alcohol usage. In general then, naproxen and alcohol are not safe to be used together unless specifically allowed by the patient's physician.

Medical authorities differ in their warnings regarding the concomitant use of naproxen and alcohol. Some sources prohibit the use of alcoholic beverages entirely while a patient is regularly taking this medication. Another source warns patients to limit use of alcohol during treatment. All experts cite studies, however, demonstrating that drinking three or more alcoholic drinks per day while taking naproxen increases the chances of life-threatening gastrointestinal side effects. These chances can also increase depending upon the patient's age and overall health.

Naproxen and alcohol can both cause gastritis, or irritation of the lining of the stomach. The additional use of tobacco raises the risk of GI complications from naproxen even more. Other prescription medications and the ingredients in many over-the-counter drugs can further exacerbate gastritis. Patients are advised to read the ingredients of all supplements and over-the-counter medications carefully to avoid products containing ibuprofen, ketoprofen or aspirin. Self-medication to avoid gastritis by taking antacids is not recommended as antacids can interfere with the digestion and absorption of naproxen.

Drowsiness, grogginess and an inability to safely operate some machinery are more shared effects of both naproxen and alcohol. Together, these substances can pack more than twice the punch in a synergistic combination. Naproxen and alcohol effects are also age-related, in that both substances affect older individuals to a greater degree. Studies have demonstrated that the chance of naproxen-related GI side effects is greater in the elderly.

Naproxen has also been associated with an increased chance of heart attack and stroke in individuals with existing coronary artery disease or hypertension. This risk of cardiovascular complication appears to be greater in patients who have taken this medication for a longer length of time. Naproxen's potential gastrointestinal side effects, on the other hand, can occur without warning during any phase of treatment. Concomitant alcohol use increases the chances of these GI side effects.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By bluedolphin — On Oct 08, 2012

@burcidi-- Probably not. I think those side effects are most probable in people who take high doses of naproxen regularly and also drink on a regular basis. So those who are taking this drug every day and those who are suffering from alcoholism are at increased risk.

If you're taking over-the-counter naproxen, it's usually 200mg of naproxen per tablet. So if you only take one or two tablets per day and don't drink daily or heavily, you're probably not going to suffer from gastrointestinal side effects. But then again, there is no guarantee, so it's a risk to use naproxen and alcohol together regardless.

By burcidi — On Oct 07, 2012

For side effects like stomach bleeding and ulcers to occur, wouldn't the person have to take a high dosage of medication and a lot of alcohol?

I mean is one tablet of naproxen and a couple of beers going to give someone ulcers?

By ZipLine — On Oct 06, 2012

I have been given naproxen for tendinitis and I made the mistake of drinking the very first day I was put on it by my doctor. They both made me so dizzy! I think I got drunk much more quickly than usual and I just felt very drowsy and dizzy and my speech started to slur.

I told my doctor about it the next morning and she told me not to drink while on naproxen. If I hadn't drank the first day I started taking the drug, I would have noticed that it was making me dizzy and would not have drank as much. Anyway, I learned my lesson, I'm waiting until my treatment is over to drink again.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.