Article

Alcohol and prescription drug safety in older adults

Department of Gerontology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA
Drug, Healthcare and Patient Safety 02/2013; 5:13-27. DOI: 10.2147/DHPS.S38666
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

The objectives of this study were to investigate older adults' knowledge of prescription drug safety and interactions with alcohol, and to identify pharmacists' willingness to disseminate prescription drug safety information to older adults.
The convenience sample consisted of 48 older adults aged 54-89 years who were recruited from a local pharmacy and who completed surveys addressing their alcohol consumption, understanding of alcohol and prescription drug interactions, and willingness to change habits regarding alcohol consumption and prescription drugs. To address pharmacist willingness, 90 pharmacists from local pharmacies volunteered and answered questions regarding their willingness to convey prescription drug safety information to older adults.
Older adults reported low knowledge of alcohol and prescription drug safety, with women tending to be slightly more knowledgeable. More importantly, those who drank in the previous few months were less willing to talk to family and friends about how alcohol can have harmful interactions with prescription drugs, or to be an advocate for safe alcohol and prescription drug use than those who had not had a drink recently. Pharmacists reported that they were willing to convey prescription drug safety information to older adults via a variety of formats, including displaying or distributing a flyer, and directly administering a brief intervention.
In this study, older adults were found to have inadequate knowledge of prescription drug safety and interactions with alcohol, but pharmacists who regularly come in contact with older adults indicated that they were ready and willing to talk to older adults about prescription drug safety. Future research should focus on interventions whereby pharmacists disseminate prescription drug safety information to older adults in order to improve healthy prescription drug and alcohol behavior and reduce medical and health costs associated with interactions between alcohol and prescription drugs.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Nonmedical use of prescription drugs by an older population is growing, with increasing drug use with the aging of the 'baby boomer' generation born between 1946 and 1964. The trends in use and characteristics of the users are documented in US large-scale surveys, emergency department cases, treatment admissions and drug poisoning deaths. Prevention messages should warn against misuse of prescription drugs, especially in combination with other drugs. Special attention should be given to the effects of these drugs on persons suffering from dementia and sleep disorders, and the potential of severe withdrawal effects from use of these drugs. In addition to close evaluation and monitoring of the patients, substance abuse treatment programmes designed specifically for this population are needed.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014