Should Older People in Residential Care Receive Vitamin D to Prevent Falls? Results of a Randomized Trial
Article first published online: 15 SEP 2005
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume 53, Issue 11, pages 1881–1888, November 2005
How to Cite
Flicker, L., MacInnis, R. J., Stein, M. S., Scherer, S. C., Mead, K. E., Nowson, C. A., Thomas, J., Lowndes, C., Hopper, J. L. and Wark, J. D. (2005), Should Older People in Residential Care Receive Vitamin D to Prevent Falls? Results of a Randomized Trial. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 53: 1881–1888. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2005.00468.x
- Issue published online: 23 SEP 2005
- Article first published online: 15 SEP 2005
Vol. 60, Issue 8, 1599, Article first published online: 13 AUG 2012
- nursing homes;
- aged 80 and over;
- vitamin D;
- randomized controlled trials;
Objectives: To determine whether vitamin D supplementation can reduce the incidence of falls and fractures in older people in residential care who are not classically vitamin D deficient.
Design: Randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind, trial of 2 years' duration.
Setting: Multicenter study in 60 hostels (assisted living facilities) and 89 nursing homes across Australia.
Participants: Six hundred twenty-five residents (mean age 83.4) with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels between 25 and 90 nmol/L.
Intervention: Vitamin D supplementation (ergocalciferol, initially 10,000 IU given once weekly and then 1,000 IU daily) or placebo for 2 years. All subjects received 600 mg of elemental calcium daily as calcium carbonate.
Measurements: Falls and fractures recorded prospectively in study diaries by care staff.
Results: The vitamin D and placebo groups had similar baseline characteristics. In intention-to-treat analysis, the incident rate ratio for falling was 0.73 (95% confidence interval (CI)=0.57–0.95). The odds ratio for ever falling was 0.82 (95% CI=0.59–1.12) and for ever fracturing was 0.69 (95% CI=0.40–1.18). An a priori subgroup analysis of subjects who took at least half the prescribed capsules (n=540), demonstrated an incident rate ratio for falls of 0.63 (95% CI=0.48–0.82), an odds ratio (OR) for ever falling of 0.70 (95% CI=0.50–0.99), and an OR for ever fracturing of 0.68 (95% CI=0.38–1.22).
Conclusion: Older people in residential care can reduce their incidence of falls if they take a vitamin D supplement for 2 years even if they are not initially classically vitamin D deficient.