Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Can I take pain medication if I am already taking sleeping pills?"

ZocdocAnswersCan I take pain medication if I am already taking sleeping pills?


I have sleeping pills prescribed by my doctor but I also have a lot of minor muscle aches right now. Can I take some ibuprofen or aspirin with the sleeping pills or is that really dangerous?


The answer to your question depends somewhat on what sleep medicine your doctor has prescribed. Most sleeping pills act by reducing the overall activity of the brain making you sleepy. There are pain medications that also cause this, and therefore are dangerous to take with sleeping pills. These pain medications are of the narcotic class and include oxycodone, morphine, hydromorphone, and hydrocodone. Ibuprofen and aspirin are anti-inflammatory medications and do not cause sedation like the narcotic pain medications do. Therefore, they should be safe, again depending on what pill you are taking for your sleep. I should note that taking ibuprofen and aspirin has its own risks independent of your sleeping pills. If you have a history of kidney disease, bleeding, or stomach ulcers, ibuprofen and aspirin may be dangerous to take for your pain. The best physician for you to see about this problem is your primary care physician. He or she can look at your list of medications and determine if the anti-inflammatory medications are safe to take for your muscle aches. Your doctor may decide that there is a different pain medication such as acetaminophen that is safer. If so, then you can get another prescription at that visit. Good luck.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.