Versão em Português

Mixing painkillers with alcohol: what are the risks?

28 Junho 2016

Understand the potential interactions between pain medications and alcoholic beverages.

The use of pain control medications, known as analgesics or painkillers, is a common practice. In fact, one of the most sold drugs in Brazil is an analgesic, composed of dipyrone, caffeine and orphenadrine. Many of them can be purchased without a prescription, while more potent ones, especially those derived from opioids, require a controlled prescription, given their greater potential for side effects, including substance dependence.

Therefore, CISA warns about the risks of consuming alcoholic beverages by people who use these drugs. Generally speaking, alcohol can interact negatively with many medications, be they prescription drugs or even natural ones. However, as each drug has a particular profile of side effects and metabolization, it is necessary to analyze how each analgesic specifically interacts with alcoholic beverages.

*The interaction of alcohol with this substance is especially risky for liver problems

It is worth remembering that the effects of alcohol for women can pose more risks, considering that, due to their body composition with less water than men, the concentration of alcohol in the blood reaches higher levels. Likewise, elderly people are also at particular risk for the damages from these interactions, even more so if they use other medications. Thus, they are more vulnerable to potential drowsiness effects or liver damage from such interactions.

The time interval between the ingestion of the drug and the ingestion of alcohol capable of inducing the interaction varies, from a few hours to days. Therefore, the recommendation when a person needs to use a drug that is known to interact with alcohol is not to consume alcohol. To learn more about the risks in relation to the medication in use, consult your doctor.

Additional Info

  • Referências:

    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - NIAAA

423 Rócio Street, Rooms 1208/1209
São Paulo - SP - ZIP CODE 04552-000

Phone: +55 11 3842 3388
Mobile: +55 11 91257-6108


Subscribe to our newsletter

CISA, Information Center on Alcohol and Health