Paracetamol and alcohol - are they compatible?


Paracetamol is a very commonly used pain medication. It is available in small quantities from pharmacies without a prescription. The following article is about taking paracetamol with existing alcohol consumption. Interesting questions about the mode of action of paracetamol and the influence of alcohol should be clarified in detail. The question of the consequences for those affected is also the focus of this article.

General information about paracetamol

Paracetamol is one of the most widely used pain relievers in the world. For most people, it is well tolerated and effective, especially in small doses. Since it has few side effects, especially in the over-the-counter doses, paracetamol is very popular with most people as a light pain reliever.

It is one of the so-called "over-the-counter" drugs that can be purchased in low doses in pharmacies without a prescription. Therefore, paracetamol is often used in the general population even without medical supervision.

Further information on the subject can be found at: Paracetamol and Is Paracetamol Anti-Inflammatory?

Does paracetamol and alcohol make a high increase?

Paracetamol and alcohol are not a sensible or good combination. Many people are aware of this. However, it is more common for people to consume alcohol even though they have taken paracetamol. The question arises as to what effects this has. Does this lead to a stronger intoxication or are the fears unjustified?

Paracetamol and alcohol are partly processed by the same enzymes in the liver. Products are created that have to be further reduced. The simultaneous intake of paracetamol and alcohol leads to the fact that the breakdown of the two substances is impaired. So alcohol is broken down more slowly when there is paracetamol in the body. However, direct amplification of the intoxication is relatively unlikely.

In low doses, the paracetamol is hardly noticeable, the damage to the liver tends to take place in silence and initially remains unnoticed. In the event of an overdose, however, there is a risk of very severe liver damage, which is very acute. You should therefore keep your hands off small amounts of paracetamol when consuming alcohol.

Liver damage from paracetamol and alcohol

The question often arises whether the use of paracetamol with simultaneous alcohol consumption is questionable. At a regular use of paracetamol, especially in large quantities, alcohol consumption should be avoided. Alcohol damages the liver. Many people know that, but there is one thing that very many do not know: Also Paracetamol has liver-damaging side effects. Since it is not just about acute damage, but creeping developments, the The interval between paracetamol intake and alcohol consumption in itself does not affect long-term liver damage. With regular alcohol consumption and frequent use of paracetamol, you increase your risk of liver damage considerably.

Paracetamol impaired but also the breakdown of alcohol in the liver. This is for the following reason: Paracetamol is broken down and metabolized in part by the same enzymes in the body that break down alcohol. Therefore, paracetamol delays the breakdown of alcohol in the body. So if you want to drink alcohol on a given occasion, for example, you should not take paracetamol at the same time or immediately after consumption. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen or diclofenac are more suitableas they do not affect the breakdown of alcohol.

It also takes about 15 hours for paracetamol to be completely broken down in the body. You should therefore at least 15 hours between taking paracetamol and consuming alcohol.

Does paracetamol help with a hangover?

Paracetamol is not suitable to cure the headache of a "hangover". The opposite is the case: Paracetamol leads to a slower breakdown of alcohol in the body. Drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen are better suited to relieve headaches after a drunkenness.

Paracetamol interactions

Paracetamol, like any drug, has interactions. In combination with alcohol or other stimulants, sometimes unpredictable interactions can occur. As a rule of thumb, the more drugs or stimulants that are combined with one another, the greater the risk of side effects and side effects. In general, there are few interactions between paracetamol and other drugs. Alcohol plays a rather subordinate role in this case.

  • Some sleeping pills (barbiturates) in combination with alcohol increase the liver-damaging effect of paracetamol, as more toxic substances are formed in the body.
  • The drug cholestyramine, which is used in disorders of lipid metabolism, reduces the absorption of paracetamol in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • If you take paracetamol regularly, the effects of anticoagulant drugs such as marcumar or warfarin can be increased. This increases the risk of bleeding. Alcohol also has a negative effect on the coagulation system, so that in combination with paracetamol and anticoagulants it can lead to heavy bleeding.
  • Caution is advised with the drug carbamazepine, which is used to treat epilepsy: in combination with alcohol, it intensifies the liver-damaging effect of paracetamol

Effects on the liver

Paracetamol performs in one Overdose to severe damage to liver cellsthat ultimately lead to Liver failure and even to death being able to lead.

The reason for this is as follows: After the supply of paracetamol, the active ingredient is supplied to the body's metabolism. Reactions with various enzymes lead to iIn small quantities the toxic product N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine is formed. With a responsible consumption of paracetamol, which is within the recommended amounts moved, that is no problem. The small amount of the toxic substance can be caught in the body by so-called glutathione (an endogenous antioxidant). So there is no harm.

A dose too high Paracetamol or the additional consumption of alcohol increases the formation of the toxic product and the liver is severely damaged. People with a pre-damaged liver, for example in the context of chronic alcohol consumption, sYou should therefore refrain from taking paracetamol and up Alternatives like ibuprofen To fall back on.

Effects on the gastrointestinal tract

In general, paracetamol is considered a well-tolerated active ingredient. With regard to the gastrointestinal tract, taking paracetamol is harmless. There are no relevant side effects unlike other pain relievers like ibuprofen. Paracetamol is therefore a good alternative to active ingredients such as ibuprofen to relieve pain in the event of damage to the gastrointestinal tract or gastrointestinal flu.

Alcohol and paracetamol in combination have no relevant effects on the gastrointestinal tract.

Effects on the nervous system

There are theories about the effects of paracetamol on serotonin receptors and the body's own pain relieving endocannabinoid system. By influencing these systems, the pain-relieving effects of paracetamol arise in the body. These mechanisms are very complicated and are currently still being researched by specialized scientists.

The influence of the simultaneous consumption of alcohol is not related to these modes of action. The effects of alcohol on the nervous system are a chapter in their own right. Establishing a connection is therefore very difficult.

However, paracetamol poisoning has severe negative effects on the nervous system, which are exacerbated by alcohol. Alcohol and paracetamol damage the liver. If the damage is very severe, liver failure occurs. When the liver, which is a very important detoxification organ, no longer functions, toxic substances such as ammonia accumulate in the body and especially in the brain. This severe brain damage leads to impaired consciousness and even coma.

Side effects of paracetamol

Paracetamol rarely shows undesirable side effects when used responsibly and appropriately. However, as with any medicine, side effects can occur. Some side effects can be aggravated by the simultaneous consumption of alcohol. Paracetamol can damage the liver. The risk is particularly high in people with liver diseases, such as cirrhosis, and alcoholics. Furthermore, the risk of bleeding can be increased. Chronic alcohol consumption also has negative effects on the risk of bleeding, so this is further increased by an additional intake of paracetamol. Other side effects of paracetamol do not seem to be related to alcohol consumption.

Further information on the subject is available at: Cirrhosis of the liver