Apr 18, 2023

Diclofenac and alcohol: Possible interactions and risks

Mixing alcohol with diclofenac may increase its risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and stomach ulcers.

Many medications interact with other drugs, food, and substances such as alcohol. These affect how a drug works and may raise the risk of side effects.

People use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as diclofenac (Zorvolex) to relieve pain and inflammation.

However, gastrointestinal (GI) complications are among the most common side effects secondary to NSAID use. Mixing alcohol with NSAIDs may increase the risk of GI bleeding and stomach ulcers.

This article details diclofenac, discusses whether it is safe to drink alcohol while taking diclofenac, and the possible side effects and precautions. We also look at frequently asked questions (FAQs) surrounding the topic.

Diclofenac is an NSAID used to treat sudden (acute) and long-standing (chronic) pain associated with inflammatory conditions, especially those affecting the musculoskeletal system. These include:

It also addresses inflammation caused by injuries from events such as surgery and physical trauma. Doctors can also prescribe it to treat migraine and painful menstrual periods.

Diclofenac comes in various forms, which a person takes at particular schedules. These release the drug differently in the body. These forms include:

Diclofenac works by inhibiting the activity of enzymes responsible for producing prostaglandins. These are substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation.

Aside from diclofenac, other common NSAIDs include:

Alcohol is a psychoactive substance and a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that affects how the brain communicates with the body. It can disrupt a person's:

As many as 1 in 4 individuals take alcohol to manage chronic pain. However, the effect is temporary.

A person should speak with a doctor about over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers. They should discuss any possible effects and risks of medications before trying any other remedies or treatments.

Drinking alcohol can irritate the lining of the stomach, and doing so while on diclofenac may mean a person has a greater risk of side effects from the drug.

Mixing the two may increase the risk of:

The risk may be higher for people who take NSAIDs for a longer duration or drink large units of alcohol while taking diclofenac. However, doctors will recommend a person not mix the two to avoid adverse effects from occurring or other possible complications.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), drinking alcohol increases a person's chance of GI bleeding. Other risk factors include:

On their own, NSAIDs may lead to GI complications such as:

Experts also associate chronic use of these drugs with potentially severe upper GI adverse drug reactions.

This is because of the inhibition of cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-1 and COX-2 enzymes that inhibit prostaglandins’ production, which also reduces the secretion of the mucus lining. This lining protects the GI tract against acidic juices in the stomach and small bowel.

The FDA also issued a boxed warning on the risk of cardiovascular and GI events associated with using Zorvolex (diclofenac) for oral use. These include:

Learn more about side effects here.

Before taking diclofenac, a person should tell their doctor if they are:

Below are some FAQs.

While taking diclofenac, a person should avoid taking:

They should also avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.

Some studies found that diclofenac is one of the most potent and effective NSAIDs for osteoarthritis.

The drug's increased effectiveness may be because, unlike traditional NSAIDs, it is more effective in inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme, which produces prostaglandins that mediate pain and inflammation.

Diclofenac is a type of NSAID used to treat pain and swelling, especially pain caused by inflammatory disorders such as arthritis.

This NSAID is available in different forms, such as tablets, as well as capsules and solutions, dependent on the person and the recommended treatment from their doctor.

Diclofenac is an NSAID commonly used to treat pain and inflammation. As with other NSAIDs, drinking alcohol while taking diclofenac may increase the risk of side effects, including stomach ulcers and bleeding.

It is essential to consult a medical professional before taking diclofenac or drinking alcohol while on this medication. It is also crucial for a person to tell their doctor about all their medications and other health conditions.