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Medical News & Perspectives
March 21, 2012

Falls From Taking Multiple Medications May Be a Risk for Both Young and Old

JAMA. 2012;307(11):1127-1128. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.290

Falling as a result of taking multiple medications has largely been thought to be a geriatric syndrome. Now a New Zealand study published in Injury Prevention challenges that assumption, finding that young and middle-aged adults are also prone to falls if they take 2 or more prescription drugs.

After 2 decades of research on the association between polypharmacy and falls focused on people older than 65 years, “we’ve certainly increased our understanding that prescription drugs can have adverse effects in the elderly,” said Mary Tinetti, MD, professor of medicine and public health and chief of the section of geriatrics at Yale University School of Medicine, who pioneered research of morbidity-related falls in geriatric patients. “Maybe we need to be thinking about that in a younger population as well,” said Tinetti, who was not associated with the New Zealand study.