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Published on 7 August 2009

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Drugs could boost risk of falling


Certain medications can increase the chances of elderly people falling over, a new study has revealed.

Research in France found that elderly men and women were 1.4 times more likely to fall if they were taking long-acting anti-anxiety drug benzodiazepine than if they were not on the medication.

The study, which lasted four years, also found a moderately increased risk of falling among elderly people who were frequent users of mood and behaviour-altering “psychotropic” medications.

The research, by Dr Annick Alperovitch at INSERM in Paris, found that elderly people who regularly use tranquillisers, muscle relaxants and anti-spasmodics, and some antihistamines that block nerve responses, also faced a similar risk of falling.

The study, reported in the journal BMC Geriatrics, assessed the association between the use of potentially inappropriate medications and the risk of falls in 6343 community-living men and women who were nearly 74 years old on average.

Inappropriate medication was defined as drugs that were likely to have a greater effect on elderly people than younger individuals, as well as medications with side effects that could increase the chances of falling.

Copyright Press Association 2009

BMC Geriatrics

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