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Age Ageing. 2007 Sep;36(5):507-13. Epub 2007 Jul 26.

Does vitamin D stop inpatients falling? A randomised controlled trial.

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Department of Medicine for the Elderly, Mansionhouse Unit, Victoria Infirmary, 21 Mansionhouse Road, Glasgow, G41 3DX, UK.



Vitamin D deficiency is common in older people and may increase risk of falls and fracture. Hospital inpatients are at particular risk of falling. Previous studies suggest that vitamin D improves neuromuscular function and reduces falls.


To determine whether routine supplementation with vitamin D plus calcium reduces numbers of fallers and falls in a cohort of hospital admissions while they are inpatients.


Randomised, double-blind, controlled study.


two hundred and five acute admissions >65 years to a geriatric medical unit.


Patients were randomised to intervention of daily vitamin D 800 iu plus calcium 1,200 mg or control group of daily calcium 1,200 mg, until discharge or death.


Baseline characteristics were similar in both groups with a median age 84 years and a median length of stay = 30 days (IQR 14.75-71.00). In a pre-selected sub-group (54/205 participants), median admission vitamin D level = 22.00 nmol/l (IQR 15.00-30.50). This did not significantly increase in the treatment versus control group. Median study drug adherence = 88%, with no significant difference between study groups (Mann-Whitney: P = 0.711). Although there were fewer fallers in the vitamin D cohort, this did not reach statistical significance (vitamin D: calcium = 36:45 fallers; RR 0.82 (CI 0.59-1.16). Neither the mean number of falls (vitamin D: calcium = 1.040:1.155; Mann-Whitney P = 0.435) or time to first fall (Log-rank test P = 0.377) differed between groups.


In a population of geriatric hospital inpatients, vitamin D did not reduce the number of fallers. Routine supplementation cannot be recommended to reduce falls in this group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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