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Medical Edge: New survey on alcohol use and medication

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CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- A new survey shows that many of us have the potential for hidden health hazards if we take medications and drink alcohol. It's just a glass of wine or two at dinner, or a few drinks with the girls after work, but a new report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found four in ten of us who drink alcohol also take a medication which could cause potential health problems. The statistic is also higher in older adults, finding that eight out of ten are mixing alcohol with medication that could cause potential health problems. ‚“The potential is definitely there,‚ said Tom Imhoff, who is a clinical pharmacist who says researchers in this survey asked about prescription medication as well as how much and how often people drink alcohol. The survey is one of the first to ever look at the potential interaction of alcohol and medication for those who drink alcohol, and those who take medications. While we don't know what people are drinking and what those interactions may truly be, here's the list of what they found some people who drink alcohol could experience. Nausea, headaches, loss of coordination, and more severe interactions could be internal bleeding, heart problems or difficulty breathing. To avoid these risks, Imhoff suggests that you pay close attention to categories of drugs that put you most at risk for these kinds of complications. They include anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, sleeping pills, antihistamines and mainly the biggest population reviewed in this study was those who were taking cardiovascular medications. There is often a written warning for patients on the label or written medication insert about those risks, Whether they read that or not is another matter as well,‚ said Imhoff. So Imhoff‚„s suggestion is to ask your pharmacist about not just alcohol use, but timing with a mediation as well. Follow Liz Bonis on Twitter @lbonis1, and LIKE her on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @Local12 and LIKE us on Facebook for updates!
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