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Blood Pressure Meds May Increase Fall Risk in the Elderly — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
February 25, 2014

Blood Pressure Meds May Increase Fall Risk in the Elderly

By Amy Orciari Herman

Use of antihypertensive medications may put elderly patients at increased risk for falls, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers studied nearly 5000 community-dwelling Medicare beneficiaries over age 70 with hypertension. During 3 years' follow-up, 9% had a serious fall injury. After multivariable adjustment, use of moderate-intensity antihypertensives was associated with a significant 40% increased risk for serious fall injuries relative to no antihypertensive use. High-intensity medications conferred a 28% increased risk, although this did not achieve statistical significance.

Neither the class nor number of antihypertensives was associated with increased risk. A history of fall injury in the previous year, however, seemed to strengthen the association between falls and antihypertensive treatment.

Commentators speculate on potential mechanisms and then conclude, "Clinicians should pay greater attention to fall risk in older adults with hypertension in an effort to prevent injurious falls, particularly among adults with a previous injury.

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