A retrospective analysis of prescription medications as it correlates to falls for older adults
Objectives: To determine the correlation between falls and two medication factors: the class of medications and potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) prescribed to community-dwelling older adults aged 55 and older.
Methods: Retrospective, cross-sectional study. Home health patients residing in a Texas/Mexico border community and reporting at least one fall within the past month. Medication use, medication classification, and potentially inappropriate medications (PIM) recorded by level of falls; non-fallers and recurrent fallers.
Results: Of 99 participants, 13.1% reported falling once and 86.9% reported two or more falls. Participant’s average number of medications used was 10.51 (SD 5.75) with 93.9% having four or more prescribed medications. Average number of PIMs prescribed per participant was 1.42 (SD 1.51) with at least one PIM prescribed to 65.6% of participants. Twenty three out of 83 identified classes of prescribed medications met criteria for the study’s analyses but resulted in no significant association to falls when comparing NF to RF. Agents acting on the renin-angiotensin system and lipid modifying agents were the most frequently prescribed medication classes (N=55, 55.6%). Ibuprofen was the PIM most frequently prescribed (n=13, 13.1%). The correlation between use of a prescribed PIM and number of falls was not statistically significant (p=0.128).
Conclusions: There was no correlation between classes of medication and level of falls. Recurrent fallers were more likely to have been prescribed a PIM than non-fallers (not significant). Although the analyses conducted for this study did not result in statistical significance, the high prevalence of polypharmacy and prescribed PIMs observed in these participants warrants a thorough review of medications to reduce fall risks among older adults.
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