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Internist (Berl). 2009 Apr;50(4):493-500. doi: 10.1007/s00108-009-2355-5.

[Medication and falls in old age].

[Article in German]

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Medizinisch-Geriatrische Klinik, Albertinen-Haus, Zentrum für Geriatrie und Gerontologie, Wiss. Einrichtung an der Universität Hamburg, Sellhopsweg 18-22, Hamburg, Germany.


Falls with and without injuries in elderly persons commonly have multiple causes. Exposure to drugs does contribute to these causes. Therefore, complete assessment and evaluation of prescription and over the counter drugs are essential parts of fall-prevention concepts. Frail elderly persons frequently treated with several medications are particularly predisposed to adverse drug effects which may increase the risk of falling. Risk increasing drug effects are dose dependent which have been best studied with psychotropic medication. Apart from psychotropic drugs, cardiovascular drugs contribute to FRIDs (Fall-Risk Increasing Drugs). Fall risk is particularly increased with drugs of the same therapeutic class combined or combinations of psychotropics and cardiovascular drugs. Intervention studies on withdrawal and dose reduction of fall-risk increasing drugs were successful in reducing the risk of falling. There is relatively few knowledge on whether and how drug treatment does decrease fall risk in elderly patients by improving safe mobility and walking ability relevant to activities of daily living.

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