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  • Naproxen and alcohol should not be taken together. This combination can lead to serious side effects like gastritis, stomach bleeding, and overdose.

    This mixture can also increase the risk of abuse, dependency, and addiction. Luckily, there is treatment available for those struggling with naproxen and alcohol abuse.

    What Is Naproxen?

    Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and pain reliever like ibuprofen and aspirin. It’s used to treat pain and tenderness associated with muscle aches, joint aches, menstrual periods, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. 

    Naproxen is available as over-the-counter brand names like Aleve, Flanax, or Naprosyn.

    How Naproxen Works

    Naproxen works by reducing the amount of prostaglandin the body produces. This hormone is responsible for inflammation and decreasing it allows the medication to reduce pain and swelling. 

    Unfortunately, prostaglandin also protects and thickens the stomach lining. When you take naproxen in large amounts, reducing prostaglandin can lead to bleeding, ulcers, gastritis, and upset stomach. With the addition of alcohol, these effects can become even worse.

    Side Effects Of Mixing Naproxen & Alcohol

    Mixing naproxen and alcohol can lead to a variety of side effects that may include:

    • nausea
    • upset stomach
    • headache
    • heartburn
    • dizziness
    • drowsiness
    • high blood pressure
    • vomit that looks like coffee grounds
    • ​tarry stool
    • bruising
    • belching
    • ringing in the ears
    • skin irritation

    Health Risks Of Mixing Naproxen & Alcohol

    Taking naproxen while drinking alcohol can also increase the risk of serious health conditions.


    Mixing naproxen and alcohol can increase the risk of bleeding. This is especially the case for those who have a long history of alcohol abuse. Alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to make more blood cells and platelets that are needed for clotting. 

    If you’re injured, the wound may bleed longer than if you hadn’t mixed the two. This can be especially dangerous if the injury is internal and you aren’t aware of the bleeding.


    There is also a higher risk of gastritis when you drink alcohol while taking naproxen. Since large quantities of naproxen take away the hormone that thickens and protects the stomach lining, and alcohol can cause all sorts of damage to the stomach, the risk of gastritis increases.

    Gastritis can also lead to other serious issues that may include:

    • stomach ulcers
    • permanent damage to stomach lining
    • low blood iron
    • vitamin B12 deficiency
    • stomach bleeding
    • gastrointestinal bleeding

    Dependence & Addiction

    Naproxen and alcohol use also increases the risk of dependence and addiction. While naproxen doesn’t have a high potential for abuse and addiction, alcohol does. Abusing the two can increase the risk of alcohol use disorder.


    Taking naproxen while drinking alcohol can also increase the chances of an overdose. If you drink enough alcohol, your judgment may become impaired and you might take more naproxen than is recommended. This can lead to an unintentional overdose and if untreated, can be fatal.

    Heart Problems

    NSAIDs like naproxen can also increase the risk of both heart attacks and stroke. While the drug reduces the formation of platelets in the blood and prevents clotting, it also works on another enzyme that promotes clotting—that’s what can ultimately lead to a heart attack or stroke.

    Liver Damage

    While naproxen doesn’t normally cause issues with the liver, alcohol can. If you’re binge drinking or regularly drinking a lot, the chances of liver damage and liver disease increase. 

    The symptoms of liver issues can include:

    • nausea
    • dark urine
    • jaundice
    • decrease in appetite

    If you or a loved one struggles with drug or alcohol abuse, qualified healthcare professionals can help. To learn about our treatment options, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Naproxen
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Naproxen
    National Library of Medicine: PubMed - The effect of alcohol abuse on the risk of NSAID-related gastrointestinal events
    National Library of Medicine: StatPearls - Naproxen

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on April 30, 2022
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