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Can I drink alcohol if I'm taking painkillers?

Posted by Be Well

Can I drink alcohol if I'm taking painkillers?
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When taking painkillers ( analgesics), you should always read the instructions to ensure that you are taking the medication correctly. Most painkillers should come with information about alcohol, and whether or not it is safe to drink while you are taking the medication. You should always follow the guidance included with the product.

Some painkillers are only available with a prescription, and it may not be safe to drink alcohol at all while taking them. However, many painkillers are available to purchase over- the-counter (OTC) from a pharmacy, and it is usually safe to drink alcohol while taking them, as long as you do not drink more than your recommended daily amount, and you take the painkillers at the correct dosage.

The recommended daily amounts of alcohol are different for men and for women. Men should not drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day, while women should not drink more than 2-3 units a day. One unit is equal to half a pint of normal strength beer, a glass of wine, or a single shot of spirits.

The different types of painkillers, and the ways in which alcohol can affect you when you are taking them, are detailed below.

Aspirin and ibuprofen

Aspirin and ibuprofen are both available without a prescription from pharmacies. It is normally safe to drink alcohol when taking ibuprofen or aspirin, as long as you drink within the recommended amount (between 3-4 units daily for men, and between 2-3 units daily for women).

If you drink more than this while taking aspirin or ibuprofen, the alcohol can irritate your stomach, and may increase your likelihood of experiencing side effects, such as bleeding in your stomach or intestines. Heavy, or long-term, daily use of aspirin may cause stomach inflammation, or ulceration, and this can be made worse by drinking too much alcohol. Aspirin can also increase the effects of alcohol.

If you often drink more than three units of alcohol in a day, you should talk to your doctor about whether or not it is safe for you to take aspirin, or ibuprofen.


Like aspirin and ibuprofen, acetaminophen is available over-the-counter (OTC) without a prescription from pharmacies. Drinking alcohol while taking acetaminophen is safe as long as you stick to the recommended amounts (between 3-4 units daily for men, and between 2-3 units daily for women).

However, if you have liver problems, either from drinking alcohol, or due to other causes, you should not take acetaminophen unless you are told it is safe to do so by your doctor. Paracetamol can worsen any existing liver damage, so it may be necessary for you to take an alternative painkiller.


Caffeine is an additive in some over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers, but alcohol does not have any adverse effect on it.

Codeine and dihydrocodeine

Codeine is a strong painkiller and it is not available without a prescription. Dihydrocodeine is a combination of codeine and an opioid (narcotic), and also usually prescribed. However, some brands with a lower dose of opioid may be available over-the-counter (OTC) from pharmacies.

Taking codeine and codeine-based painkillers can cause drowsiness (tiredness), and drinking alcohol while taking them, will increase this effect. It is not advisable to drink any alcohol when taking codeine, or codeine-based painkillers.

Morphine, meperidine and other prescription-only painkillers

Many painkillers are strong and are not available without a prescription. Like codeine and codeine-based painkillers, they cause drowsiness and it is therefore not safe to drink any alcohol while you are taking them.

If you have any concerns about this information, or need any help understanding it and relating it to your own situation, you should talk to your doctor, or pharmacist.

Lets focus on the alcohol and painkillers. It is VERY dangerous to mix the two. I am not going to say dont do it, because I have done so myself, but its very risky. It depends on the strength, your size, the amount you drink, etc. Its a bad idea. Back in high school there were a few kids who died from this combo. I would highly suggest against it. Weed and painkillers would be great imo. If your going to a party I would imagine you would be way to messed up to enjoy yourself, plus the risk of death. Just stick to weed + 1. Not both.

You know the answer, since you're asking the question. No medicine should be taken with alcochol. That's a common knowledge, or should be.
Alcohol or pain killers(Medicine) are a deadly combination. Avoid it else, it can have detrimental effect on our health.
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