A couple of years ago our nephew died as a result of taking prescription medication for his condition with alcohol. I hope the article below will help someone avoid that kind of mistake and save their family terrible pain.
Here it is….
More than a third of Americans who drink use prescription medications that could lead to serious health consequences if mixed with alcohol, a recent study said (this is not limited to the U.S.A. alone).
The numbers are even higher for seniors — nearly 78 percent of U.S. adults ages 65 and older who drink use medications, that could be dangerous when taken with alcohol, according to a study published online…in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
Until this study, there had been little research that included a national sample of Americans using a wide range of alcohol-interactive prescription medications, said lead study author Rosalind Breslow, PhD, MPH, RD, an epidemiologist in the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. When alcohol combines with an alcohol-interactive prescription medication, it affects how the drug breaks down in the body and could result in risks to health, such as liver damage.
“We did the study because the combination of alcohol and many prescription medications can result in harmful side effects like falls, traffic accidents and overdoses and in some cases literally can be deadly,” Breslow told The Nation’s Health. “So because of the harms, we thought it was important to estimate how many people in the U.S. population were at risk of side effects due to interactions between alcohol and prescription medications.”
The study looked at more than 26,000 adults between 1999 and 2010 who were age 20 or older. Researchers asked participants about their prescription drug use and drinking habits. The majority of the participants were white and current drinkers, which means they drank 12 or more drinks in their lifetime and on at least one day in the past year, according to the study.
The more commonly used prescriptions among participants were drugs affecting cardiovascular health or the central nervous system, the study said. Examples of drugs that affect cardiovascular health included blood thinners and blood pressure medications. Drugs that affected the central nervous system included narcotic pain medications, such as oxycodone, and anti-anxiety medications, such as Valium. However, the study did not look at whether or how often alcohol and prescription drugs were used at the same time or at a time when an interaction would be expected, Breslow said.
Breslow said it is important for doctors to educate seniors in particular about the health risks associated with combining prescription medication and alcohol. She also noted that more research is needed on the combined use of medications and alcohol.
“Our study showed the potential scope of the problem but we didn’t have the data to estimate actual prevalence,” Breslow said. “The way to get these data is to include it in population survey questions about combined usage.”
Article by Natali McGill. Courtesy of The Nation’s Health: http://thenationshealth.aphapublications.org/content/45/2/E7.full