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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Liver Diseases

Question: Liver damage resulting from narcotic and alcohol mix?

 TimsHealth - Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:25 am

For about 10 years i have drank heavily on the weekends and then used prescription pain medications (percocet, vicoden, tylenol 4) as hangover cures. I know that using alcohol and these medications is a recipe for disaster eventually, but initially thought that if i wasn't actually washing the pills down with alcohol then that wasn't so bad.

Also there have been many times where i wake up around 11am and take a small dose of narcotic (1/2 tablet of a 325/7.5mg percocet or one tylenol 4 pill) then after the effect has worn off (say 8-9pm) start drinking, drink until 3am then the following day at 11am treat my hangover with more narcotic and so on.

I now realize that even if the 'buzz' is gone from taking the narcotic, the drug is still very much in my system. I know that i should IDEALLY not be doing this, but i'm curious to see if it's likely that i've done serious harm to my liver already by doing this. Also, if i were to binge and treat the hangover with narcotics only once every two months or so, would that also be an extremely bad idea?

I.e. I know the answer is "don't do this, you're shaving years off your life" but realistically i will probably end up doing it again at some point, so any less broad information or advice would be greatly appreciated! (Yes yes...i know i'm irresponsible =-)

To give a clearer picture i'm 160lb. male, 27 years old with a moderate tolerance for alcohol. I drink up to twelve drinks (high end of the spectrum) in an evening, stop drinking at 2am then may take a Tylenol 4 as soon as 10am. I've had spans of time where for two years i was doing this as much as 6 times a month, but also gone through two year spans where i may have done this only a 5-6 times throughout the year.

(My apologies for maybe awkward language/not knowing exactly where to post this as this is my first post.)
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:55 pm

User avatar Hello --

This is probably the most appropriate topic for your question, and since we can dispense with "common sense" arguments and just get to the point, the simplest way to know for sure the answer to your question is to have blood testing for liver function and have a doctor interpret these for you. I mean, if you really want to know what risk you're running (despite having no great urge to do anything to change the outcome) this would be a good starting point. It's impossible to estimate the extent of damage or even know if there is any, without assessing liver function. Once that's done and interpreted in light of your present habits, a rough estimate of the long-term outlook could possibly be made.

It's as simple -- and as complicated --as that.

I hope this answers your question. Good luck to you and please follow up with us as necessary.

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