CVD drugs could prevent falls, say researchers

Macquarie University researchers have investigated the use of psychotropic and cardiovascular disease medications in residential aged care.

Aged care residents who are taking medication for cardiovascular disease may be at lesser risk of falls, according to research.

The finding was discovered when researchers from Macquarie University’s Australian Institute of Health Innovation began investigating the long-term pattern of use of psychotropic and CVD drugs in residential aged care, and their association with falls.

Falls are a common occurrence in aged care homes. Annual quality indicator data shows almost a third of residents record at least one fall a quarter.

Dr Nasir Wabe

And, as AIHI senior research fellow Dr Nasir Wabe told Australian Ageing Agenda, psychotropics are often the cause. “Drugs for mental health issues are strongly linked to a higher risk of falls,” he said.

Dr Wabe’s research – which included data from the medical records of 4,207 permanent residents newly admitted to 27 aged care facilities in Sydney – shows that 83.6 per cent of aged care residents have been prescribed a psychotropic medication and 77.3 per cent are on CVD drugs. Both are classified as fall-risk-increasing medications.

However, Dr Wabe and his team discovered that residents taking high doses of psychotropic medications along with high doses of CVD drugs were less likely to fall than other residents taking high doses of psychotropics but low doses of CVD drugs. “CVD medications might counteract some of the fall risks associated with psychotropic drugs,” said Dr Wabe.

With aged care residents three times as likely to fall than people living in the community, Dr Wabe told AAA that the findings “highlight the need for better medication management and regular reviews to prevent adverse effects like falls.”

Dr Wabe and his team hope their research – which has been published in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine – will promote a greater understanding of the relationship between different types of medications and fall risks.

Such an understanding “can help caregivers and healthcare providers develop strategies to minimise falls, especially by managing psychotropic drug use more cautiously,” he said. “Recognising different patterns of drug use among residents allows more personalised care plans, potentially improving safety and quality of life in residential aged care settings.”

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Tags: australian institute of health innovation, cardiovascular-disease, CVD, Dr Nasir Wabe, falls, falls prevention, medication, psychotropics,

1 thought on “CVD drugs could prevent falls, say researchers

  1. Residents taking a high number of psychotropics and a high number of cardiovascular drugs would be less likely to ambulate and stay in bed – making them at lower risk of falling. Falls are multi-factorial.

    Did you take this into account and factor in the mobility of the residents as well?

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