The use of alcohol and medicines among Australian adults

Aust N Z J Public Health. 2007 Dec;31(6):529-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2007.00138.x.


Objective: To collect Australian population-based data on concurrent use of conventional medicines, complementary/alternative medicines (CAM), and alcohol.

Method: National survey administered in December 2005 to 816 Australian adults.

Results: 71% of respondents reported recent (last 24 hour) use of conventional medicine or CAM. 24% had recently consumed alcohol and conventional medicine, 17% alcohol and CAM and 13% alcohol and both types of medicines. Use of blood pressure and arthritis medicines was significantly more likely among daily drinkers than less than daily drinkers and non-drinkers.

Conclusions: Concurrent use of medicines and alcohol is common, particularly among older people.

Implications: Use of alcohol may have an impact on the stability of chronic illness managed by medicines or other types of interactions with medicines, such as sedation. Health care professionals should routinely inquire about such use to be able to incorporate appropriate safety strategies into clinical management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Australia
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Drug Prescriptions*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Herb-Drug Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nonprescription Drugs*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Risk Assessment


  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Ethanol