|Characteristics of older adults who consume alcohol while on antidepressants
|Year of Publication
|Ulrich, EE, Vonderhaar, J, Tenhouse, A
|The Consultant Pharmacist
|Alcohol Consumption, Depressive symptoms, Prescription Medication
OBJECTIVES: Determine the characteristics of older Americans who self-report consuming alcohol and taking at least one antidepressant. DESIGN: This study utilized cross-sectional analyses. SETTING: The University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study and its subsurvey Prescription Drug Study (PDS). PATIENTS, PARTICIPANTS: Those who reported taking at least one antidepressant prescription medication, were 65 years of age or older, and were enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid between 2002 and 2004. INTERVENTIONS: Chi-square tests were conducted between demographic groups and alcohol consumption variables. Relationships between antidepressant quantity and behaviors of those consuming alcohol while taking antidepressants were also addressed. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Demographics, alcohol consumption, number of antidepressants, psychiatric problem status, and alcohol behaviors. RESULTS: There were 412 subjects from the 2007 PDS (N = 3,536) who self-reported taking at least one antidepressant prescription medication. A total of 102 (24.8%) of the 412 subjects taking antidepressants reported using alcohol. Ethnicity, education level attained, and geographic region all showed a statistical difference between alcohol drinkers and nondrinkers. Most subjects were only on one antidepressant medication. Also, none of the subjects felt they needed to cut down on their drinking though they also did not feel annoyed by criticism from others about their drinking habits. CONCLUSION: This study showed that 24.8% of older Americans in the community were consuming some amount of alcohol while on antidepressants. These results show that there is an opportunity for consultant pharmacists to educate older American adults about the safety concerns with alcohol consumption and antidepressant use.