Call Our 24/7 Helpline

(866) 592-9261

Ask a Live Chat Representative

 
Discussing alcohol – Part 2: Alcohol-medications interplay can be risky for older adults

Discussing alcohol – Part 2: Alcohol-medications interplay can be risky for older adults

February 27 | By Rachael

The warning and instructions on medicine packages usually direct the user how to take the drugs, about its effects and to consult a doctor before using it. It also warns about the risks of mixing the medication with alcohol. Some medications, when mixed with alcohol, can cause sleepiness, drowsiness or lightheadedness. In other cases, alcohol can aggravate the effects of such medication. One might have problems concentrating or performing mechanical skills, like driving.

The danger of mixing alcohol and medications is real. At times, even over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and herbal remedies can be harmful for the patient. Certain painkillers or medications for cough, cold and allergy contain chemicals that can interact with alcohol. Moreover, certain medication may contain up to 10 percent alcohol – cough syrups and laxatives are known to have some of the highest concentrations of alcohol.

Risks of medication and alcohol

According to a national survey conducted in 2008, roughly 40 percent adults who were 65 consumed alcohol. Such adults tend to experience a variety of problems by consuming alcohol along with other medications like complicated health problems and dependence on alcohol.

Consumption of too much alcohol can cause various health problems among older adults. Heavy drinking among older adults can worsen certain physical conditions like:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Liver problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Memory problems
  • Mood disorders

Most older adults take medications. When these medications get mixed with other medications and alcohol, they cease to work efficiently and instead they become harmful and toxic to the body. It can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting or loss of co-ordination. It also increases the risks of internal bleeding, heart problems and difficulties in breathing. Given below are the effects of certain medications when mixed with alcohol:

  • Aspirin and arthritis medications along with alcohol can increase the risks for bleeding in stomach.
  • Painkiller acetaminophen with alcohol increases the probability of liver damage.
  • Cold and allergy medicines contain antihistamines that cause drowsiness. Drinking alcohol can intensify such drowsiness and decrease coordination.
  • Specific medicines meant to help an individual sleep, lessen pain or alleviate anxiety or depression can cause a spectrum of problems, like induced sleepiness, poor coordination, respiratory problems, rapid heartbeat and memory trouble.
  • Alcohol mixed with medications meant for high blood pressure, diabetes, ulcers, gout and heart failures can deteriorate the conditions.

Path to recovery

Older adults are at a higher risk for harmful interaction of alcohol and medications. An aging body breaks down alcohol slower compared to younger adults, which means that alcohol is present for a longer time in their body. Furthermore, older adults are more likely to take medications and generally take more than one kind of medication. The concoction can increase their risks and put them in a problem.

It is important to consult the pharmacist or the health care providers to learn if a medicine will interact with alcohol. Avoiding alcohol while on medications is the safest way to guarantee the efficacy of most medications. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), alcohol was responsible for over 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions in 2014.

If you or a loved one is on medications and is dependent on alcohol, it is imperative to seek help. Contact the Colorado Alcohol Addiction Help to avail the best alcohol treatment in Colorado. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-592-9261 or chat online with our medical representatives to get help in locating the best alcohol addiction treatment in Colorado. One should go for timely treatment as any delay can worsen the situation and things can get out of hand.

Read other articles of the series “Discussing alcohol:”

Part 1: Drinking in college