Fall-contributing adverse effects of the most frequently prescribed drugs

J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2003 Jan-Feb;93(1):42-50. doi: 10.7547/87507315-93-1-42.


The 200 most frequently prescribed medications in 2000 were reviewed for adverse effects that have the potential to cause fall injuries. The actual number of different medications reviewed was 169 after eliminating duplicates due to listing of medications by both brand and generic names. Of these 169 medications, adverse effects of documented traumatic injuries and falls were reported for 9.5% (n = 16). Four hundred forty-eight adverse effects were identified and organized into 13 broad categories representing drug-induced changes in nervous, circulatory, and muscular systems. These changes were reported for 157 medications reviewed (92.9%) and could result in fall injuries. The accompanying list of medications can serve as a ready reference for podiatric physicians and other health-care professionals when monitoring and counseling patients regarding the potential for medication-induced fall injuries, which are especially common in the elderly population.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls* / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • United States