Alcohol use and potential risk for alcohol-related adverse drug reactions among community-based elderly

J Community Health. 1993 Aug;18(4):225-39. doi: 10.1007/BF01324433.


This paper documents the frequency of alcohol consumption and concurrent use of alcohol and medications in a random sample of elderly community dwellers. Further, a profile of older persons who are likely to be drinking alcohol is developed and the extent to which they are at potential clinical risk due to their concurrent use of alcohol with prescription and over-the-counter medications is explored. While approximately 43 percent are abstainers, the majority of older respondents reported using alcohol. Older drinkers who take one or more drugs which place them at potential risk for negative drug-alcohol interactions represent one-quarter of this sample but are often overlooked in estimating the extent of alcohol problems in the elderly. By far, the most common risk was from the use of OTC pain medications and alcohol (19 percent). The multivariate analyses revealed that sex, educational attainment, and religious affiliation are important factors to consider in developing a profile of older people who are at risk for alcohol-related ADRs. Implications for health care and social service professionals who work with elderly community-dwellers are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Nonprescription Drugs / therapeutic use
  • Prevalence
  • Random Allocation
  • Religion
  • Risk Factors
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sex Factors


  • Nonprescription Drugs