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Comparison Of AUDIT And CAGE Questionnaires In Screening For Alcohol Use Disorders In Elderly Primary Care Outpatients

Steven W. Clay
Published 1997 · Medicine

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Abstract Alcohol use disorders (AUD) can be destructive in the elderly because of drug interactions, higher blood alcohol levels per amount consumed, and limited functional reserve. However, physicians diagnose only about 30% of elderly with AUD. The objective of this study was to screen for AUD in rural elderly family medicine outpatients using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). A survey of all presenting patients aged 65 years or older who consented (N = 93) was done in four family practices in Southeast Ohio. Measurements included the CAGE and AUDIT questionnaires. On the AUDIT, 13 subjects (14.0%), [10 men, 3 women], screened positive for AUD, scoring 5 or more points, and seven subjects (7.5%) [six men, one woman] screened positive for AUD, scoring 8 or more points. On the CAGE, five men (5.4%) but no women screened positive (>2 affirmatives). The prevalence of AUD found in this survey (5.4% to 14.0%) is consistent with previous studies. Based on these findings, the AUDIT may be a useful screening instrument in the elderly population.

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