Medication Prescribed Within One Year Preceding Fall-Related Injuries in Ontario Older Adults
Keywords:medication prescription, fall-related injuries, fall-related fractures, older adults
Serious injuries secondary to falls are becoming more prevalent due to the worldwide ageing of societies. Several medication classes have been associated with falls and fall-related injuries. The purpose of this study was to describe medication classes and the number of medication classes prescribed to older adults prior to the fall-related injury.
This population-based descriptive study used secondary administrative health-care data in Ontario, Canada for 2010–2014. Descriptive statistics were reported for Anatomic Therapeutic Chemical 4th level medication classes. Frequency of medications prescribed to older adults was calculated on different sex, age groups, types of medications, and injures.
Over five years (2010–2014), 288,251 older adults (63.2% females) were admitted to an emergency department for a fall-related injury (40.0% fractures, 12.1% brain injury). In the year before the injury, 48.5% were prescribed statins, 27.2% antidepressants, 25.0% opioids, and 16.6% anxiolytics. Females were prescribed more diuretics, antidepressants, and anxiolytics than males; and people aged 85 years and older had a higher percentage of diuretics, antidepressants, and antipsychotics. There were 36.4% of older adults prescribed 5–9 different medication classes and 41.2% were prescribed 10 or more medication classes.
Older adults experiencing fall-related injuries were prescribed more opioids, benzodiazepines, and antidepressants than pre-viously reported for the general population of older adults in Ontario. Higher percentage of females and more 85+ older adults were prescribed with psychotropic drugs, and they were also found to be at higher risk of fall-related injuries. Further associations between medications and fall-related injuries need to be explored in well-defined cohort studies.
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