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Multiple drug use 'linked to falls'
People who take two or more prescription drugs could be twice as likely to fall over regardless of their age, research suggests.
The young and middle-aged seem to have a similar risk of falling over at home as elderly people due to medicine use, according to a study in the journal Injury Prevention.
Drugs to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol were the most likely to be linked to unintentional falls, although researchers said this could be due to the underlying health conditions rather than the medicines.
The research involved more than 340 people who died or needed admission to hospital within 48 hours of a fall.
These cases were compared with more than 350 people randomly selected from the electoral register in New Zealand.
The researchers, from the University of Auckland, found that people taking two or more prescription medicines were 2.5 times as likely to suffer a fall as those on fewer.
The findings held true even after taking account of personal, social and lifestyle factors, including alcohol and illegal drug use, and how much sleep the person had in the previous 24 hours.
The experts concluded: "Our findings suggest that young and middle-aged adults using two or more prescription medications are at 2.5 times increased odds of fall-related injury at home compared with those on fewer or no medications.
"The findings suggest that, as in the case of older people, younger working aged adults who use multiple prescription medications are at increased risk of falls, an aspect that should be considered in falls prevention programmes."
No increased risk was found for asthma inhalers, anti-inflammatories, steroids or antidepressants.