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Many Americans Taking Meds Not to Be Mixed With Alcohol

Researchers couldn’t determine if people surveyed were using both simultaneously

MONDAY, Jan. 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) — A substantial number of Americans who drink also take medications that should not be mixed with alcohol, new government research suggests. The findings were published online Jan. 16 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

The findings were based on responses from 26,657 U.S. adults who took part in a government health survey. About three-quarters of men and two-thirds of women in the study were considered “current drinkers,” because they’d had alcohol on at least one day in the past year.

The researchers found that among current drinkers, 42.8 percent were on alcohol-interactive prescription medications. Of those current drinkers, 41.5 percent said that in the past month they’d used a medication that can interact with alcohol. That figure was even higher (78.6 percent) among drinkers older than 65.

It’s not clear how many people were drinking and taking their medications around the same time — or even on the same day, the researchers stress. “But this does tell us how big the problem could potentially be,” study coauthor Aaron White, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, told HealthDay.

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