The risk of falls and fractures associated with persistent use of psychotropic medications in elderly people

Agnes Vitry, Annabel P. Hoile, Andrew L. Gilbert, Adrian Esterman, Mary A. Luszcz

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18 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to examine the effect of psychotropic medications (antipsychotics, antidepressants, anxiolytics, hypnotics and sedatives) on the risk of falls and fractures in a cohort of elderly people in South Australia. A retrospective cohort study was undertaken using the wave 1 (1992) and wave 3 (1994) data of the Australian Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ALSA). Persistent use of psychotropic medicines was defined as use of one or more psychotropic medications at both wave 1 and wave 3. A comprehensive list of potential confounding variables was individually entered into regression models to examine effects on risk ratios. The results showed that the use of psychotropic medications was associated with an increased risk of falls in females (IRR = 1.47, 95% CI = 1.31-1.64) but not in males (IRR = 1.03, 95% CI = 0.85-1.26). The use of psychotropic medications was also associated with an increased risk of a fracture in females (RR 2.54; CI 1.57-4.11; p < 0.0001) but not in males (RR = 0.66; p = 0.584; CI 0.15-2.86). In both analyses, the body mass index (BMI) was determined to be the only confounding variable. After adjusting for BMI, the IRR in females decreased to 1.22 (95% CI 1.02-1.45; p < 0.015) for falls and the RR decreased to 1.92 (p < 0.015, CI 1.13-3.24) for fractures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1-e4
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Fall
  • Fracture
  • Psychotropic medication
  • Risk factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Ageing
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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