Medications associated with falls in older people: Systematic review of publications from a recent 5-year period

Hyerim Park, Hiroki Satoh, Akiko Miki, Hisashi Urushihara, Yasufumi Sawada

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Falls are an important public health problem in older people. Medication use is considered a risk factor for falls. This study systematically reviewed recent studies to determine the medications that might be associated with the risk of falling in older people. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of prospective and retrospective studies identified through the MEDLINE and CINAHL databases that quantitatively assessed the contribution of medications to falls risk in participants ≥60 years old published in English between May 2008 and April 2013. Results: The search identified 1,895 articles; 36 articles met the inclusion criteria. Of the 19 studies that investigated the effect of polypharmacy on the risk of falling, six studies reported that the risk of falling increased with polypharmacy. Data on the use of antihypertensive medications including calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, and angiotensin system blocking medications were collected in 14 studies, with mixed results. Twenty-nine studies reported an association between the risk of falls and psychotropic medications including sedatives and hypnotics, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines. Conclusions: The use of sedatives and hypnotics and antidepressants including tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors appears to be related with an increased risk of falls. It is not clear if the use of antihypertensive medications is associated with the risk of falls in older people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1429-1440
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 1


  • Accidental falls
  • Aged
  • Pharmaceutical preparations
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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