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Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Education

Alcohol and OTC pain medication – a harmful combination

Alcohol and OTC pain medication – a harmful combination

The flu season hit hard this year with many experiencing a longer than expected recovery period.  In time of pain and discomfort, many will turn to over-the-counter pain medications.  But did you know that consuming light to moderate amounts of alcohol while taking a non-prescription pain medication may increase your risk of kidney dysfunction?

Acetaminophen, is commonly taken when individuals suffer from headache, muscle aches and arthritis.   These are common conditions and frequently self-treated.  Travel size miniature bottles have become quite popular so we can have the pills close by wherever we go.

Parker University recently analyzed data collected during a survey involving more than 10,000 participants in an attempt to identify if there was any correlation between alcohol, acetaminophen and health condition when taken together.

Findings revealed that 2.6% of the 10,000 participants reported using acetaminophen in combination with consumption of low to moderate amounts of alcohol. Of these participants, 1.2% reported kidney dysfunction.

Acetaminophen usage and low to moderate alcohol consumption were not considered as individual risk factors for kidney damage. But together, the researchers found they demonstrated an increased risk of 123%.

Additionally, use of aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen could slow blood flow to the kidneys and lead to kidney failure.

Taken separately, it may not be harmful to ingest therapeutic dose of acetaminophen and a light/moderate amount of alcohol, combining the two may be potentially hazardous.