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Australas J Ageing. 2019 Nov 25. doi: 10.1111/ajag.12756. [Epub ahead of print]

Medication use among older Australians seeking alcohol and other drug treatment.

Author information

1
School of Medicine and Public Health, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
2
National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
3
Peninsula Health, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.
4
School of Science and Health, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

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.

METHOD:

Retrospective file audit of patients discharged from Australia's only older adult-specific alcohol and other drug treatment service.

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSIONS:

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.

KEYWORDS:

adverse drug event; alcohol drinking; alcohol use disorder; drug interactions; polypharmacy

PMID:
31769178
DOI:
10.1111/ajag.12756

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