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Journal Article


de Groot MH, van Campen JP, Moek MA, Tulner LR, Beijnen JH, Lamoth CJ. Drugs Aging 2013; 30(11): 901-920.


Department of Geriatric Medicine, Slotervaart Hospital, Louwesweg 6, 1066 EC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands,


(Copyright © 2013, Adis International)






Meta-analyses showed that psychotropic drugs (antidepressants, neuroleptics, benzodiazepines, antiepileptic drugs) and some cardiac drugs (digoxin, type IA anti-arrhythmics, diuretics) are associated with increased fall risk. Because balance and gait disorders are the most consistent predictors of future falls, falls due to use of these so-called fall-risk-increasing drugs (FRIDs) might be partly caused by impairments of postural control that these drugs can induce. Therefore, the effects of FRIDs on postural control were examined by reviewing literature. Electronic databases and reference lists of identified papers were searched until June 2013. Only controlled research papers examining the effects of FRIDs on postural control were included. FRIDs were defined according to meta-analyses as antidepressants, neuroleptics, benzodiazepines, antiepileptic drugs, digoxin, type IA anti-arrhythmics, and diuretics. Ninety-four papers were included, of which study methods for quantifying postural control, and the effects of FRIDs on postural control were abstracted. Postural control was assessed with a variety of instruments, mainly evaluating aspects of body sway during quiet standing. In general, postural control was impaired, indicated by an increase in parameters quantifying body sway, when using psychotropic FRIDs. The effects were more pronounced when people were of a higher age, used psychotropics at higher daily doses, with longer half-lives, and administered for a longer period. From the present literature review, it can be concluded that psychotropic drugs cause impairments in postural control, which is probably one of the mediating factors for the increased fall risk these FRIDs are associated with. The sedative effects of these drugs on postural control are reversible, as was proven in intervention studies where FRIDs were withdrawn. The findings of the present literature review highlight the importance of using psychotropic drugs in the older population only at the lowest effective dose and for a limited period of time.

Language: en


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