Dangers of Using Aspirin and Drinking

The risks of combining alcohol with painkillers are widely known. However, many people would not think twice about combining over-the-counter painkillers with alcohol. The fact is that combining alcohol with aspirin can result in serious medical complications, especially in the elderly and in alcoholics.

Medical Risks of Combining Aspirin and Alcohol

Aspirin by itself can cause stomach and gastro-intestinal bleeding, especially if used regularly and in high doses. Additionally, alcohol can greatly increase the chance of this occurring, as well as its severity. The elderly and people who suffer from heavy alcohol consumption are much more vulnerable to this possibility. Risk also increases if someone uses aspirin and alcohol together over a long timeframe, even in moderate amounts. Aspirin also thins the blood and reduces its ability to clot effectively, so the body will have a more difficult time healing from gastro-intestinal bleeding.

People may be tempted to self-medicate pain with aspirin and alcohol, especially if they suffer chronic pain that does not warrant prescription painkiller use. This combination can effectively treat pain in the short term, and as a result may cause a habit. However, serious gastro-intestinal damage may eventually result.

Dangers of Acetaminophen and Alcohol

Extensive use or overdose of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, can seriously damage the liver. Alcohol increases the risk of this problem by activating the body’s enzymes that transform acetaminophen into chemicals that can seriously and permanently damage the liver. This can occur with the recommended dose of acetaminophen, and can happen to regular drinkers even if they consume only moderate amounts on a regular basis. Heavy drinkers are at increased risk and may already suffer liver damage that will leave them much more vulnerable to the effects of acetaminophen.

People who consume alcohol regularly should avoid Tylenol and other medications that contain acetaminophen. Many opioid painkillers contain acetaminophen, including Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen) and Lortab (hydrocodone and acetaminophen). So, if you consume alcohol on a regular basis, even in moderate amounts, inform your doctor and be honest about your drinking habits; she will probably choose an alternative pain medication that does not include acetaminophen.

Help with Alcohol and Aspirin Use

Alcohol and aspirin is a dangerous combination that you should avoid. If you are a regular drinker, seek alternatives to aspirin and acetaminophen for minor or chronic pain. If you have any questions about alcohol and drug interactions, if you would like suggestions for alternatives to treating pain or if you would like help finding treatment for addiction, call our toll-free helpline today. Counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have and help you find treatment if you need it.

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