Avoid taking paracetamol after drinking alcohol, pharmacist warns

At Christmas and New Year we probably drink more alcohol than we would at any other time of the year.

Severe headaches, dizziness, sickness and dehydration can all be uncomfortable consequences of drinking one too many.

While there are no complete cures for a hangover, many of us rely on painkillers as quick symptom relief.

But one expert warned this could be doing more harm than good.

Abbas Kanani, superintendent pharmacist of Chemist Click, spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk to explain more.

He advised taking ibuprofen instead of paracetamol to treat hangover headaches.

“Paracetamol can potentially interact with alcohol and increase the risk of liver damage,” he said.

Overdosing on paracetamol is actually a leading cause of liver failure.

The British Liver Trust says that “paracetamol in large amounts is toxic to the liver”.

However, the NHS states that taking paracetamol after drinking a “moderate” amount of alcohol is generally safe.

“Paracetamol should be used with caution if you have certain health conditions, such as liver problems,” the health body says.

If possible it is always best to avoid developing a hangover in the first place, Abbas said.

“Symptoms of a hangover are generally caused by dehydration, which happens because alcohol is a diuretic.

“Drinking it can make you pee more than if you had the same amount of water.”

Abbas recommended keeping an eye on how much you are drinking first and foremost.

He said: “You shouldn’t be drinking more than you know your body can cope with. If you’re not sure how much that is, be cautious.”

What you eat before or while drinking is also key. Abbas warned against “drinking on an empty stomach”.

“Try to eat a meal that includes carbohydrates, such as pasta or rice or fats before you begin because this will help to slow down your body’s absorption of alcohol,” he added.

It’s always a good idea to drink water or non-fizzy soft drinks in between each alcoholic drink.

He said: “Fizzy drinks speed up the absorption of alcohol into your body”.

This will also help to slow down how much you drink overall.

You should also aim to drink a pint or so of water before you go to sleep and keep a glass of water by your bed to sip if you wake up during the night.

Abbas said: “Dealing with a hangover involves rehydrating your body to help you deal with the painful symptoms.

“The best time to rehydrate is before going to sleep after a drinking session”.

As per Government guidance, men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.

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