Fall-related mortality and drugs that increase fall risk

1 Apr 2021 - 09:15

Whilst many studies have looked at morbidity associated with fall risk increasing drugs (FRIDs), fewer have assessed any association between FRIDs and mortality.

A study by Shaver and colleagues from the University of Buffalo was recently published in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety looking at this.

The FRID classes included anticonvulsants, antidepressants (second generation), antihypertensives, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, opioids, sedative hypnotics, tricyclic antidepressants, first generation antihistamines and antispasmodics.

The group utilised a death records database as well as a survey database containing information of prescribed medicines taken by respondents. The percentage of people receiving at least one FRID increased from 57% in 1999 to 94% in 2017. Age-adjusted deaths per 100 000 persons due to falls also increased from 29.4/100 000 to 63.3/100 000.

As the data was pulled from two separate databases it was not possible to test for a direct association between the two occurrences, but the signal could merit further study. The survey database used also did not include institutionalised populations such as those in nursing homes.