Medication to treat high blood pressure associated with fall injuries in elderly

Medication to treat high blood pressure (BP) in older patients appears to be associated with an increased risk for serious injury from falling such as a hip fracture or head injury, especially in older patients who have been injured in previous falls.

Most people older than 70 years have , and is key to reducing risk for myocardial infarction (MI, heart attack) and stroke. Previous research has suggested that medications may increase risk of falls and fall injuries.

Researchers examined the association between BP medication use and experiencing a serious injury from a fall in 4,961 patients older than 70 years with hypertension. Among the patients, 14.1 percent took no antihypertensive medications, 54.6 percent had moderate exposure to BP medications and 31.3 percent had high exposure.

During a three-year follow-up, 446 patients (9 percent) experienced serious injuries from falls. The risk for serious injuries from falls was higher for patients who used antihypertensive medication than for nonusers and even higher for patients who had had a previous fall injury.

"Although cause and effect cannot be established in this observational study and we cannot exclude confounding, antihypertensive medications seemed to be associated with an increased risk of serious fall injury compared with no antihypertensive use in this nationally representative cohort of , particularly among participants with a previous fall injury. The potential harms vs. benefits of antihypertensive medications should be weighed in deciding whether to continue antihypertensives in older adults with multiple chronic conditions."

More information: JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 24, 2014. DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.14764

Related Stories

Recommended for you

India's bidi workers suffer for 1,000-a-day habit

date 16 hours ago

Zainab Begum Alvi and her band of young helpers hunch over baskets filled with tobacco flakes and dried leaves, trying to roll a thousand dirt-cheap cigarettes a day at the behest of India's powerful bidi barons.

Key to better sex ed: Focus on gender & power

date Apr 17, 2015

A new analysis by Population Council researcher Nicole Haberland provides powerful evidence that sexuality and HIV education programs addressing gender and power in intimate relationships are far more likely ...

Journal tackles aging policy issues raised by White House

date Apr 17, 2015

In anticipation of the forthcoming 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has produced a special issue of The Gerontologist that outlines a vision for older adults' econom ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.