Anti-hypertensive medication class and fall risk

January 01, 0001

Anti-hypertensive medication class and fall risk

Anti-hypertensive medications as a whole have medications have been linked to a risk of falling in elderly patients. These British researchers sought to characterize class-specific fall risks in elderly patients. They performed a case-control study using data from the The Health Improvement Network primary care database. They looked for patient over 60 years of age with a first fall, and up to six controls per case matched by age, gender and general practice.Conditional logistic regression estimated odds ratios.

The researchers found: "amongst our 9,682 cases, we found an increased risk of current prescribing of thiazides (odds ratio (OR) 1.25). At 3 weeks after first prescribing the risk remained 4.28 (1.19-15.42). We found a reduced risk for current prescribing of beta blockers (OR 0.90). There was no significant association with current prescribing of any other class of antihypertensive."

The researchers concluded: "the study provides evidence that current prescribing of thiazides is associated with an increased risk of falling and that this is strongest in the 3 weeks following the first prescription."

Thiazides, especially during the first weeks of use, are associated with an increased fall risk in elderly patients.

For the full abstract, click here.

Age and Ageing 39(5):592-597, 5 September 2010
© 2010 the Author
Risk of falls associated with antihypertensive medication: population-based case-control study. Jonathan Gribbin, Richard Hubbard, John R. F. Gladman, Chris Smith and Sarah Lewis. Correspondence to J. Gribbin: [email protected]

Category: K Circulatory, N. Neurological. Keywords: thiazides, beta-blockers, anti-hypertensive medications, falls, geriatrics, case-control study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 16 November 2010

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.