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Medication Use, Falls, and Fall-Related Worry in Older Adults in the United States

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OBJECTIVE: To compare the prevalence of falls and fall-related concerns of medication users versus nonusers in U.S. seniors.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

SETTING: The National Health and Aging Trends Study.

PARTICIPANTS: U.S. nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries in 2011.

OUTCOMES: Comparing subjects who used medications with subjects who did not in the past month, the outcomes were percentages of subjects who experienced 1) a fall in the past month, 2) worry about falling in the past month, 3) being limited by this worry in the past month, 4) a fall in the past year.

RESULTS: A greater percentage of medication users experienced falls and fall-related outcomes, compared with nonmedication users. Among medication users, 10.29% had a past month fall, compared with 5.42% of non-medication users; 27.69% of medication users worried in the past month about falling, compared with 9.15% of non-medication users; 40.96% of medication users were limited by this worry, compared with 21.21%; 22.82% of medication users had a fall in the past year, compared with 13.15% of non-medication users.

CONCLUSION: Seniors who use medications are more likely to fall and to be concerned about falling. Pharmacist involvement in fall prevention continues to be essential.
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Keywords: FALLS; GERIATRICS; MEDICATIONS; PHARMACISTS

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of California San Diego, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Division of Clinical Pharmacy, La Jolla, California, USA

Publication date: 01 July 2016

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  • The Consultant Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Consultant Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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