Factors associated with alcohol consumption and prescribed drugs with addiction potential among older women and men – the Nord-Trøndelag health study (HUNT2 and HUNT3), Norway, a population-based longitudinal study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Background Little is known about factors associated with alcohol consumption and use of drugs with addiction potential in older adults. The aim of this study was to explore the association between socio-demographic variables, physical and mental health and the later (11 years) use of frequent drinking, prescribed drugs with addiction potential and the possible combination of frequent drinking and being prescribed drugs with addiction potential in older adults (≥ 65 years). Methods In this longitudinal study, we used data from two surveys of the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT2 1995–1997 and HUNT3 2006–2008), a population based study in Norway. We totally included 10,656 individuals (5683 women) aged 54 years and older when they participated in HUNT2. Frequent drinking was defined as drinking alcohol 4 days or more per week. Data on prescribed drugs with addiction potential were drawn from the Norwegian Prescription Database. Drugs with addiction potential were defined as at least one prescription of benzodiazepines, z-hypnotics or opioids during one year for a minimum of two consecutive years between 2005 and 2009. Results The typical frequent drinker in HUNT3 was younger, more educated, lived in urban areas, and reported smoking and drinking frequently in HUNT2 compared to the non-frequent drinker in HUNT3. The typical user of prescribed drugs with addiction potential in HUNT3 was an older woman who smoked and was in poor health, suffered from anxiety, had been hospitalized in the last 5 years and used anxiety or sleep medication every week or more often in HUNT2. The typical individual in HUNT3 with the possible combination of frequent drinking and being prescribed drugs with addiction potential had more education, smoked, drank frequently and used anxiety or sleep medication in HUNT2. Conclusion Individuals who were identified as frequent drinkers in HUNT2 were more likely to be frequent drinkers in HUNT3, and to have the possible combination of frequent drinking and being prescribed drugs with addiction potential in HUNT3. Health care professionals need to be aware of use of alcohol among older adults using drugs with addiction potential.