Can medication increase the risk of falls? The importance of medication review
Falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide and are a major health issue for older people. One of the factors that can increase the risk of falls is medication. This article examines how medication can affect fall risk and how medication review can reduce the risk of falls.
Each year, 3 million people aged 65 years and over fall and 5 000 people die as result of the fall (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2018; Age UK, 2019). Ageing increases the risk of falls and of sustaining an injury when a fall occurs. People aged 80 years and over are more likely to incur a fracture when they fall (NICE, 2018; Jennison and Brinsden, 2019). On average, 248 000 people in England are admitted to hospital annually because of fractures caused by falls (Jennison and Brinsden, 2019).
As people age, they are more likely to develop long-term conditions. In the UK, around 19 million people have long-term conditions (Office for National Statistics (ONS), 2020). When a person has two or more long-term health conditions, this is known as multimorbidity (NICE, 2016). The prevalence of comorbidities and multimorbidity is rising in line with population ageing and growing levels of ill-health and long-term conditions in younger people (Kingston et al, 2018). The latest data is reported to be less accurate than usual due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (NHS Digital, 2022).
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