If you wake up with a headache after a night of overindulging, sometimes figuring out what painkiller to take can make the headache even worse. I've heard that it's bad to take acetaminophen (aka Tylenol), because it can lead to liver damage, but take note: you're also not supposed to drink while taking ibuprofen.
Ibuprofen is part of the anti-inflammatory drug family known as NSAIDs, which can cause tears in the stomach lining if taken on an empty tummy. Add alcohol to the mix, and the potential danger is heightened. If you take ibuprofen when drinking more than the recommended amount for women (about two to three drinks), you increase your risk of stomach irritation and bleeding. This is especially true for people who are prone to ulcers.
But wait! Taking Tylenol when you're hungover isn't such a good idea either. To find out why, read more.
Acetaminophen can lead to liver damage if you take it in large doses (that's 4,000 milligrams, or eight extra-strength Tylenol) for more than a couple of days. Heavy drinkers who take acetaminophen and don't eat enough can overtax their livers. However, the risks associated with taking Tylenol after recreational drinking are somewhat blurry. According to The Straight Dope:
I'll spare you the biochemistry, but basically acetaminophen and alcohol in combination overwhelm the liver's ability to remove toxins from your bloodstream. . . . It's not clear from the medical literature what happens if you take acetaminophen after a one-time bender (as opposed to chronic alcohol abuse). But don't substitute some other painkiller — aspirin and ibuprofen can have side effects too. Better to be suffering than dead.
So what's a hungover, headache-plagued gal to do — besides not drinking so much in the first place? Since the jury is still out on the exact effects of combining Advil or Tylenol with booze, probably best just to tough it out. Maybe even try a natural remedy like yoga. Got one that works for you? Share it in the comments.