Link Between Falls and High-Risk Medications Investigated

High-risk medication frequently administered at doses higher than recommended
High-risk medication frequently administered at doses higher than recommended

HealthDay News — Older fallers have often been administered high-risk medications, frequently at higher-than-recommended doses, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Nina L. Blachman, MD, from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues conducted a retrospective study at a large urban academic hospital involving individuals aged 65 years and older experiencing a fall. The authors examined prescribed daily dosages and use of high-risk medications administered within 24 hours before a fall.  

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The researchers found that 62% of the 328 falls occurred in individuals administered one or more high-risk medications within the 24 hours before the fall, with 16 and 16% of the falls involving individuals receiving two and three or more medications, respectively. High-risk medications were frequently administered at doses that were higher-than-recommended, especially benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-receptor agonists, for which the dose was higher than recommended in 57% of cases. For 41% of medications examined, hospital electronic medical record default doses were higher than recommended.

"High-risk medications were administered to older fallers," the authors write. "Decreasing electronic medical record default doses for individuals aged 65 and older and warnings about the cumulative numbers of high-risk medications prescribed per person may be simple interventions that could decrease inpatient falls."

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