Australasian Journal on Ageing
School of Medical and Health Sciences
To describe the use of medications that interact with alcohol or for which alcohol reduces the medication's efficacy in older adults consuming alcohol at hazardous levels.
Retrospective file audit of patients discharged from Australia's only older adult-specific alcohol and other drug treatment service.
Seventy-two patients aged between 58 years and 87 years (M = 65.88; SD = 5.67) drinking alcohol at hazardous or harmful levels were taking between 1 and 12 pharmaceutical drugs (M = 4.03; SD = 2.42). The majority (92%) of patients were taking at least one medication that placed them at high risk of serious adverse side effects when consumed with alcohol. The efficacy of most patients’ (97%) medication was deemed to be significantly reduced when consumed with alcohol.
Among older adults who consume alcohol at hazardous levels, many take prescribed medications that adversely interact with alcohol or have reduced efficacy when consumed alongside alcohol. Targeted education is required for patients and health-care workers to mitigate these risks.
Safety and quality in health care