Medications and chronic diseases as risk factors for falling injuries in the elderly

Scand J Soc Med. 1993 Dec;21(4):264-71. doi: 10.1177/140349489302100406.


Diseases and medications associated with the occurrence of falls leading to medical treatment in elderly Finns (65 yrs or older) during a one-year period are presented. The design was that of a case-control study involving 380 fallers seeking medical treatment and 342 unmatched controls selected randomly from the population register. The occurrence of a fall was shown by logistic regression analysis to be related to advanced age, presence of benzodiazepine in the serum, hypertrophy of the prostate, poor mental capacity, presence of chronic lung disease and asthma, use of analgesics and use of digitalis in the men, and to advanced age, poor mental capacity, presence of benzodiazepine in the serum, use of analgesics and non-occurrence of lower limb arthrosis in the women. The corresponding log-linear models showed advanced age and the presence of benzodiazepine in the serum to be independent risk factors for falling both in the men and women. Furthermore, the use of analgesics was related to falling in the women with normal mental capacities. No disease was independently associated with falls. The results suggest caution in the use of benzodiazepines among the elderly.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Analgesics / adverse effects*
  • Benzodiazepines / adverse effects*
  • Benzodiazepines / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Digitalis Glycosides / adverse effects*
  • Drug Utilization
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Risk Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / blood
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*


  • Analgesics
  • Digitalis Glycosides
  • Benzodiazepines