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Medications and Falls in the Elderly: A Review of the Evidence and Practical Considerations Elsaris Z. Riefkohl, PharmD, Heather L. Bieber, PharmD, Mark B. Burlingame, PharmD, BCPS

Medications and Falls in the Elderly: A Review of the Evidence and Practical Considerations Elsaris Z. Riefkohl, PharmD, Heather L. Bieber, PharmD, Ma

Medications and Falls in the Elderly: A Review of the Evidence and Practical Considerations Elsaris Z. Riefkohl, PharmD, Heather L. Bieber, PharmD, Mark B. Burlingame, PharmD, BCPS  
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The syndrome of falls is a common and an often serious problem in elderly people. The cause of falls is multifactorial, and medication use can be a significant contributor. The observational nature of the research in this field makes it difficult to draw conclusions regarding medication use and falls in clinical practice, although psychotropic drugs appear to be most strongly associated with falls. Medication assessment is an important part of evaluating elderly patients at risk for falling. In this article, we discuss the published evidence examin- ing the relationship between medication use and falls to pro- vide a practical approach to the clinical evaluation of drug therapy in elderly patients at risk for falling. MEDICATIONS AND THE RISK OF FALLS Some of the intended and unintended pharmacological effects of drug therapy (e.g., sedation, psychomotor impair- ment, cognitive changes, dizziness, and orthostatic hypo- tension) might be expected to increase the risk of falls. Numerous published studies have sought to establish an association between medication use and risk of falling. Meta-analyses
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