14.5. Risky drinking behavior is common among psychotropic drug users

Public examination of a doctoral dissertation in the field of epidemiology

Doctoral candidate: MSc (Pharm) Jenni Ilomäki

Time and venue: 14.5.2011 at 12 noon, Mediteknia Auditorium, Kuopio Campus

The concomitant use of psychotropic drugs and alcohol is relatively common. A recent study by Jenni Ilomäki showed that men aged 53-73 years using sedative or anxiolytic drugs were in an increased risk of binge drinking or heavy drinking than men not using these drugs. Furthermore, the use of sedative or anxiolytic drugs predicted heavy drinking 11 years later. Conversely, heavy drinkers were at an increased risk of using sedative or anxiolytic drug four years later.

The study was part of a FinDrink research project funded by the Academy of Finland. The data came from the large Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, initiated in mid-1980s. It is an ongoing follow-up study of 42-60-year-old men in the Kuopio region, in Finland. Women were included in the study in 1998. One aim of the study was to examine concomitant use of psychotropic drugs and alcohol among men and women as well as the temporal relationship between psychotropic drug use and heavy drinking. The aim was also to explore changes in alcohol consumption over a 11-year period and the relationship between alcohol consumption and myocardial infarction using a novel statistical model to account for changes in drinking.

Alcohol consumption among the ”wet generation” increased with age

Men born in the late 1940’s, also called the wet generation, increased their alcohol consumption from nine weekly units to 11 weekly units over 11 years. However, older generations did not change their total weekly consumption. In all age groups, the proportion of those drinking at least 2 times weekly increased and the proportion of binge drinkers decreased. This suggests that alcohol consumption among older men in Finland is becoming more in line with the “European way of drinking”. This is a shift away from the binge drinking pattern which has traditionally been common in Finland.

Unlike most of the earlier research, this study showed no protective effect of moderate drinking against myocardial infarction when changes in alcohol consumption over time were taken into account.

This study was conducted in collaboration with the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition and the School of Pharmacy (Social Pharmacy). In addition to the Academy of Finland the study was financially supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Juha Vainio Foundation.

The public examination of the dissertation by Jenni Ilomäki, MSc(Pharm) “Epidemiology of alcohol consumption and psychotropic drug use – Focus on changes in drinking” will be held at the University of Eastern Finland, Faculty of Health Sciences. The opponent of the examination will be Adjunct Professor Sakari Suominen from the University of Turku and the custos will be Professor Jussi Kauhanen from the University of Eastern Finland.

Photo available for download at http://www.uef.fi/vaitoskuvat

Contact: Jenni Ilomäki, GSM 044-3377997, jenni.ilomaki@uef.fi

Publishing year: 2011

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