People tend to drink socially and at the same time, they may also be taking Tylenol. Tylenol is also known as acetaminophen and it is a drug that is commonly used to treat mild pain and fevers. Sometimes, drinking may lead to occasional pain which is why people may be tempted to take Tylenol along with alcohol.
But is it safe? Are there any potential risks and dangers associated with mixing alcohol and Tylenol? What are the effects of mixing alcohol and Tylenol?
Mixing Tylenol and Alcohol: When Is It Okay?
If you have been prescribed Tylenol for a certain ailment, you can drink moderate quantities of alcohol while being on the medication. Now one may argue about what is moderate when it comes to alcohol consumption?
Though the amount of alcohol varies from one drink to the other, 5 ounces of wine will have as much alcohol content as 12 ounces of beer, usually drinking in moderation means not going above three drinks in a day.
Limiting your alcohol consumption while taking Tylenol can work fine. However, if you flout this, you may end up getting seriously ill.
Impact of Mixing Tylenol with Alcohol on the Health
If you mix Tylenol and alcohol without considering the quantities, you may land up in serious trouble. Here are some complications that can arise due to the consumption of this cocktail.
The liver is entrusted with the task of breaking down alcohol and Tylenol in the body. Many medical studies suggest that both these can cause severe damage to the liver. Therefore, mixing alcohol and Tylenol can doubly impact the liver negatively. Alcoholics are at further risk of aggravating the issues with the liver.
Not only liver damage, but the mixing of Tylenol and alcohol can also lead to other complications such as stomach upset, ulcers, increased heartbeat and bleeding.
The Effect of Alcohol and Acetaminophen on the Liver
The enzymes that are responsible for breaking down drugs such as Tylenol in our body are located in the liver. When you consume alcohol in high amounts, it may interfere with the enzymes that are responsible for breaking down acetaminophen.
The inability of the enzymes to break down these elements increases their presence in the body, leading to severe liver damage. You may still end up damaging your liver if you continue to consume Tylenol beyond the prescribed period.
According to studies, every year about 17% of those who overdose on Tylenol experience liver damage in some form or the other, in varying degrees of severity.
When the body uses Tylenol, it converts it into a harmful substance which the liver is entrusted with removing from the body. Alcohol consumption introduces more of this harmful substance into the body, making it even more difficult to shun it from the body.
Mixing Tylenol and alcohol may lead to the increased presence of this harmful substance, thereby harming the liver and in grave cases, even leading to complete liver damage. This is the reason you must always consult a doctor about the doses of medication and alcohol consumption.
What Are the Symptoms of Liver Damage That You May Experience by Mixing Alcohol and Tylenol?
Your liver may give out signs that all is not well if you have mixed alcohol and Tylenol in unhealthy proportions. These include jaundice, pain in the abdomen and swelling, vomiting, sweating, loss of appetite, tiredness and unusual bleeding.
If you experience any of these symptoms all of a sudden after mixing Tylenol and alcohol, you must see a doctor without fail and immediately so that it doesn’t turn into something serious and incurable.
Are There Safer Alternatives to Tylenol?
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are considered good alternatives to Tylenol. These drugs are not only pain relievers but also reduce inflammation. If you consume these nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with alcohol, the worst side effect that you may get is an upset stomach.
Are Certain People More at Risk When Mixing Alcohol and Tylenol?
One should always consult their doctor before combining alcohol with Tylenol. However, there are few categories of people who are more likely to suffer health consequences of mixing alcohol and Tylenol. These include:
Those Who Drink More Alcohol than Recommended
If you are unable to limit your alcohol consumption while being on medication, you will end up developing health complications, particularly damage to the liver. If you have a history of alcohol abuse or can’t stop after 2-3 drinks, you will end up in a problem.
Those Who Take Higher Dosage of Tylenol or Take It Longer than It Is Prescribed For
Taking too much Tylenol can harm the liver. When you add alcohol to the mix, you make the situation worse. If you are on a high dosage of Tylenol, you need to check with your doctor if you can even drink a little alcohol or none at all.
The maximum recommended daily doses of OTC acetaminophen are 3,000 mg per day and you should not go above that. Besides, you also need to factor in the dosage of any other medication you are on.
People with Chronic Liver Disorder
People with chronic liver disease should stay away from both alcohol and Tylenol let alone think of combining them. Sometimes, it is difficult to diagnose a liver condition, which is why you should get a thorough medical examination if you experience any symptoms that don’t seem normal.
The lack of a proper diet may sometimes make a liver condition bad and more so if you are combining alcohol and Tylenol. Hence, if you are on medication, you need to ensure that you are eating well.
The Final Word
Drinking in moderation while on medication, such as Tylenol, is usually safe. You need to be careful about a few things, such as not exceeding the recommended doses of Tylenol and not having more than three drinks in one evening.
Most importantly, if you have an underlying medical condition, you need to check about mixing alcohol and Tylenol with a doctor.