142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Drug-Alcohol Interactions Among Older Adults in the U.S

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 1:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Dima Qato, PharmD, MPH, PhD , University of Illinois, Chicago, IL
Background: The older adult population in the U.S. uses  multiple prescription, as well as non-prescription, medications. In addition, more than half of older adults consume alcohol regularly. Older adults are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions and to experience the adverse effects of medications, as well as adverse effects due alcohol use, often leading to poor health outcomes. Our primary objective is to characterize the extent and nature of  drug interactions with alcohol consumption.

Methods: We used nationally-representative population-based sample of community-dwelling older adults in the U.S. Regular alcohol use was defined as at least weekly consumption. Medication use was defined as the use of a prescription or OTC medication or dietary supplement at least daily or weekly. Micromedex was used to determine drug interactions with alcohol and their corresponding severity.

Results: Among the 2,975 older adults in our sample, more than 41% (N=1106) consume alcohol regularly and more than 20% (N=567) are regular consumers of alcohol and are using at least 1 medication that interacts with alcohol. More than 90% of these interactions were of moderate or major severity. Analgesics, antidiabetic, and antidepressant agents were the most commonly used interacting medications among regular consumers of alcohol. Older adults with multiple chronic conditions and the oldest-old  had the highest prevalence of potential drug-alcohol interactions.

Conclusions: The potential for drug-alcohol interactions among the older adult population is substantial. Efforts to better understand and prevent the use of interacting medications in combination with alcohol is warranted in this population.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the prevalence and patterns of potential drug-alcohol interactions in the older adult patient population. Discuss the implications of potential drug-alcohol interactions on the health of older adults with multiple chronic conditions.

Keyword(s): Aging, Prescription Drug Abuse and Misuse

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have several years of experience examining patterns of medication use in the older adult population in the U.S. I am a clinical pharmacist and pharmacoepidemiologist with interest in understanding predictors of inappropriate medication use.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.