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Heart Health

Some Heart Medications May Increase Risk of Falls

Older adults who take non-selective beta-blockers, a class of cardiovascular medication, may be at higher risk of falling compared with people using selective beta-blockers, according to new research.

These two kinds of drugs are already known to differ by their receptor binding properties and their systemic effects on the body.

In the analysis of data from two prospective studies involving more than 10,000 people, use of a selective beta-blocker was not associated with fall risk, but use of a non-selective beta-blocker was associated with a 22% increased risk. In total, 2,917 participants encountered a fall during follow-up.

The results indicate that fall risk should be considered when weighing the pros and cons of prescribing different beta-blocker classes for older individuals.

“Drug-related falls remain under-recognized, leading to preventable falls and related injury. Precise prediction of drug-related fall risk is of major importance for clinical decision-making,” said Dr. Nathalie van der Velde, senior author of the study, which was published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. “Knowledge of type-specific effects such as selectivity in beta-blockers can be expected to improve decision-making.”