Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Alcohol-Interactive Medicines Tend Not to Deter Drinking

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Alcohol-Interactive Medicines Tend Not to Deter Drinking

Article excerpt

ORLANDO -- Elderly people tend to quit drinking alcohol as their health declines, but their medications play little role in this decision, according to a new study.

"We found no increased likelihood of drinking cessation among people taking alcohol-interactive medications, as opposed to those taking nonalcohol-interactive medications," said Kristine E. Pringle, Ph.D., who presented that study in a poster at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America.

"Our study really underscores the importance of physicians warning patients about alcohol-interactive drugs and the fact that they can produce serious, even fatal, reactions when mixed with alcohol," she said in an interview.

The retrospective study included 8,883 subjects in Pennsylvania's Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly (PACE) program who reported using alcohol in a 2000 survey. Survey data were then linked to prescription drug claims to examine which medications and health factors were associated with drinking cessation over the next 2 years.

Overall, 3.9% (347) of study subjects quit drinking during the study period. The most common reason was entry into a nursing home (odds ratio 4.5), followed by the addition of antipsychotic medications (OR 2.9) and antineoplastic agents (OR 2.67).

A decline in self-reported health increased the likelihood of quitting (OR 1.55), as did a fall in the previous year (OR 1.28).

But the addition of alcohol-interactive medications was not significantly more likely than the addition of nonalcohol-interactive medications to result in alcohol cessation (OR 1. …

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