HealthDay News — A significant number of American adults who drink also take medications that should not be mixed with alcohol, new research published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research suggests.

“Alcohol interacts negatively with numerous commonly prescribed medications. Yet, on a population level, little is known about use of alcohol-interactive (AI) prescription medications among drinkers,” noted Rosalind A. Breslow, of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues.

To determine the prevalence of AI prescription medication use among current drinkers in the United States, the investigators culled data 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 had consumed alcohol at least one day in the past year.

Among current drinkers, 42.8% were on AI prescription medications. Of those current drinkers, 41.5% reported that in the past month they’d use a medication that can interact with alcohol. That figure was even higher – 78.6% — among survey respondents aged older than 65 years.

“Given the adverse health risks of combining alcohol with AI prescription medications, future efforts are needed to collect data to determine actual simultaneous prevalence,” concluded the study authors.


  1. Breslow R et al. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. 2015; doi: 10.1111/acer.12633