People who take prescription drugs twice as likely to fall over – regardless of their age Phenomenon exacerbated by medicines used to treat high blood pressure and cholesterol
By Sadie Whitelocks
Last updated at 1:46 PM on 17th January 2012
A new piece of research suggests that those who take prescription drugs are twice as likely to suffer a fall regardless of age.
The bizarre phenomenon was found to be exacerbated by medicines used to treat high blood pressure and cholesterol.
It is now hoped findings will help develop more effective fall prevention programmes for those aged over 65, as falls are one of the leading causes of accidental death.
Researchers, from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, found that people taking two or more prescription drugs were 2.5 times more likely to suffer a fall as those on fewer.
The findings held true, even after taking account of personal, social, and lifestyle factors, including alcohol and illegal drug use, and how much sleep the person had in the previous 24 hours.
Lead researcher Bridget Kool said: ‘Our findings suggest that young and middle-aged adults using two or more prescription medications are at 2.5 times increased odds of fall-related injury at home compared with those on fewer or no medications.’
The research involved more than 340 people aged 25 to 59 years who died or needed admission to hospital within 48 hours of a fall.
These cases were compared with more than 350 people randomly selected from the electoral register in New Zealand.
Findings revealed that because of medicine use, young and middle-aged had a similar risk of falling over at home as elderly people.
Kool added: ‘The findings suggest that, as in the case of older people, younger working aged adults who use multiple prescription medications are at increased risk of falls.’
However she did note underlying health conditions, rather than the medicine, could also be responsible for increased risk of falls.
The majority of incidents occurred outdoors either on stairs, or around the garden.
Meanwhile footwear, poor lighting and uneven surfaces were identified as potential risks in the home.
The study is published in the journal Injury Prevention.
No increased risk was found for those prescribed with asthma inhalers, anti-inflammatories, steroids or antidepressants.