Healthy Tips for Seniors: Alcohol-Medication Interactions
In the U.S. 13 percent of people are over the age of 65, and this same group is responsible for over one-third of the purchased prescription drugs in the country. It is more probable for elderly patients to use prescribed medications on a long-term basis or several prescribed medications at the same time due to different medical Issues. Some medicines that you might never have suspected can react with alcohol, including many medications which can be purchased over the counter. Even some herbal remedies can have harmful effects when combined with alcohol.
As the population ages, the problems associated with mixing alcohol and medications are certain to increase. Older adults are at a higher risk for harmful alcohol-medications interactions. Aging slows the body’s ability to break down alcohol, so alcohol remains in a person’s system longer. In older adults alcohol use may increase the risk for falls, serious injury, and disability related to balance problems.
You’ve probably seen the warning labels on medicine bottles you’ve taken that reads, “ May cause DROWSINESS. ALCOHOL may intensify this effect. USE CARE when operating a car or dangerous machinery.”
The DANGER IS REAL! Mixing alcohol with certain medications can cause nausea and vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting, or loss of coordination. Alcohol can make a medication less effective or even useless, or it may make the medication harmful or toxic to your body.
Some Examples of commonly used prescription drugs associated with serious alcohol interactions are:
- NSAID’s: Advil, Aleve, Tylenol, Motrin, Aspirin, Excedrin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen
- Allergy/Cold Medications: Benadryl, Claritin, Tylenol Cold & Flu, Zyrtec, Atarax
- Arthritis Medications: Celebrex, Naprosyn, Voltaren
- Blood Pessure Medications: Clonidine, Cozaar, Hytrin, Lisinopril, Enalapril, Norvasc
- Seizure Medications: Dilantin, Keppra, Lyrica, Tegretol, Gabapentin, Klonopin, Topamax
- Anxiety Medications: Ativan, Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, Librium, BuSpar
- Depression Medications: Effexor, Zoloft, Abilify, Invega, Lexapro, Prozac, Seroquel, Wellbutrin
- Muscle Relaxers: Flexeril, Soma, Robaxin, Metaxalone, Zanaflex
- Pain Medications: Perocet, Vicodin, Morphine, Dilaudid, Tramadol, Codeine, Methadone
- Sleep Medications: Ambien, Lunesta, Restoril, Rozerem, Trazodone
Timing is important. Alcohol and medicines can interact harmfully even if they are not taken at the same
time. Remember that mixing alcohol and medicines puts you at risk for dangerous reactions. Protect
yourself by avoiding alcohol if you are taking a medication and don’t know its effect. To learn more about
a medicine and whether it will interact with alcohol, talk to your pharmacist or other health care provider.
Also always remember to consult with your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
This independent living in Houston community is fortunate to have the expertise of a nurse from a home health care Houston company, Senior Allegiance Home Health, to advise assisted living Houston residents on best care practices. Click www.treemont.com/blog to view more Healthy Tips for Seniors.