Drug and alcohol interactionsMedication managementSenior Care

Working behind the pharmacy counter, I was asked this question often from patients receiving a prescription for an antibiotic. Rarely, if ever, was I asked this question when they received a new prescription to control their blood sugar or blood pressure.

The fact is alcohol consumption interacts negatively with many different medications and disease states. The problem increases with age, as well.

The reason the elderly are more susceptible is two-fold. People have more chronic diseases as we age and thus, are more likely to be on more medications. The more medications we are on the higher the likelihood of alcohol-drug interactions. Secondly, it is believed our ability to metabolize alcohol decreases as we age, resulting in that glass of wine staying in our symptoms much longer than when we were young. Add that to a slower metabolism rate of some medications, resulting an increased time frame for medication/alcohol interactions to occur.

Medications used to control blood pressure, blood sugar, pain, cholesterol, depression and other mental health issues may be affected by alcohol. The side effects can range from decreasing the medication’s ability to work properly to increasing your fall risk; and most seriously, death, by decreasing your blood sugar or your ability to breathe.

So, before pouring that next glass of wine, do yourself a favor and call a senior care pharmacist first; especially one certified in geriatric medicine like those at Our Personal Pharmacist.

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