Medications & Polypharmacy Influence on Recurrent Fallers in Community: a Systematic Review

Yu Ming, Aleksandra Zecevic


The purpose of this systematic review is to summarize information about the impact different classes of medications and polypharmacy have on recurrent falls, defined as two or more falls in a 12-month period, in community-dwelling older adults. After adjustment for confounders such as age, gender, weight or depression symptoms, the reviewed studies suggested that older adults who use antidepressants, sedatives or hypnotics and anti-epileptics were more likely to experience recurrent falls than non-users. Polypharmacy (use of four or more prescription medications daily) caused 1.5–2 times higher possibility of recurrent falls in older adults. As a high-risk group, recurrent fallers require meaningful intervention. Medications are believed to be a modifiable risk factor in falls prevention; hence, special consideration should be taken to balance the benefit and harm in initiating, continuing or increasing certain classes of medications in elderly recurrent fallers.


recurrent falls; medications; drugs; polypharmacy; older adults

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ISSN: 1925-8348 (Online)