Objective: To investigate the predictors of falls, such as comorbidity and medication, in geriatric outpatients in a longitudinal observational study.
Methods: A total of 172 outpatients (45 men and 126 women, mean age 76.9 ± 7.0 years) were evaluated. Physical examination, clinical history and medication profile were obtained from each patient at baseline. These patients were followed for up to 2 years and falls were self-reported to their physicians. The factors associated with falls were analyzed statistically.
Results: A total of 32 patients experienced falls within 2 years. On univariate analysis, older age, osteoporosis, number of comorbid conditions and number of drugs were significantly associated with falls within 2 years. On multiple logistic regression analysis, the number of drugs was associated with falls, independent of age, sex, number of comorbid conditions and other factors that were significantly associated in univariate analysis. A receiver–operator curve evaluating the optimal cut-off value for the number of drugs showed that taking five or more drugs was a significant risk.
Conclusion: In geriatric outpatients, polypharmacy is associated with falls. Intervention studies are needed to clarify the causal relationship between polypharmacy, comorbidity and falls. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2012; 12: 425–430.