Hazardous Alcohol Use Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults With Persistent or Recurrent Pain: Findings From the Health and Retirement Study.

TitleHazardous Alcohol Use Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults With Persistent or Recurrent Pain: Findings From the Health and Retirement Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsLaRowe, LR, Miller, A, Shah, SJ, Ritchie, CS
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Volume79
Issue4
ISSN Number1758-535X
KeywordsAged, Alcohol Drinking, Analgesics, Opioid, Binge drinking, Cross-Sectional Studies, Ethanol, Female, Humans, Independent Living, Male, pain, Prevalence, Retirement
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Although pain and alcohol use are highly prevalent and associated with deleterious health outcomes among older adults, a paucity of literature has examined hazardous drinking among older adults with pain. We aimed to examine the prevalence of hazardous drinking among a nationally representative sample of older adults with persistent or recurrent pain.

METHODS: We conducted cross-sectional analyses of data collected from the 2018 wave of the Health and Retirement Study. Participants included 1  549 community-dwelling adults aged ≥65 with persistent or recurrent pain (ie, clinically significant pain present at 2 consecutive survey waves).

RESULTS: More than one-quarter of older adults with persistent or recurrent pain reported regular alcohol use (≥weekly), nearly half of whom reported hazardous patterns of drinking. Specifically, 32% reported excessive drinking (ie, >2 drinks per day for older men; >1 drink per day for older women), and 22% reported binge drinking (ie, ≥4 drinks on one occasion). Exploratory analyses revealed a high prevalence of hazardous drinking among the subsample of older adults who used opioids (47%).

CONCLUSIONS: Hazardous alcohol use-including both excessive and binge drinking-is common among older adults with persistent or recurrent pain, including those who take opioids. Given that hazardous drinking can complicate pain management and increase the risk for adverse opioid effects (eg, overdose), the current findings underscore the importance of assessing and addressing hazardous patterns of alcohol use among older adults with persistent or recurrent pain.

DOI10.1093/gerona/glad281
Citation Key13881
PubMed ID38135282
PubMed Central IDPMC10959438
Grant ListK76 AG074919 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
U01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
U01AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01AG064947 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States