This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Blood pressure pills can increase the risk of falls

Written by: | Published:

Medications used to control blood pressure can increase the risk of injury from serious fall by 30 to 40 per cent, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine. These injuries could have a similar effect on mortality and functional loss as the strokes and heart attack that the blood pressure pills are supposed to prevent.

The observational study looked at 4961 patients older than 70, with hypertension. The link between blood pressure medicine use and serious injuries such as hip fractures and head injuries from falls was examined. Among the participants, 14 per cent did not take any blood pressure medication, 55 per cent took moderate medication and 31 per cent were on a high dose.

The research team found that during a three-year follow up of these patients that nine per cent experienced serious injury from falls. The risk for serious injuries from falls was found to be higher for patients who used blood pressure medication than for non-users, and even higher for those who had experienced a previous fall injury.

‘Although no single study can settle the question and we cannot exclude the possibility that factors other than the medications accounted for the increased risk of injury, these medications may be more harmful in some individuals than thought,' said lead author Dr. Mary E. Tinetti, the Gladys Philips Crofoot Professor of Medicine and Public Health and chief of the Section of Geriatrics at Yale School of Medicine.

‘Older patients and their clinicians need to weigh the harms as well as the benefits in prescribing medications, particularly when the harms may be at least as serious as the diseases and events we hope the medications prevent,' said Dr Tinetti. ‘Patients may find themselves in the tough position of either choosing to continue their blood pressure medication and risk side effects that could lead to life-altering falls, or discontinuing their medications and risk heart attacks and stroke.'

The study was published in the 24 Feb issue of JAMA Internal Medicine and was funded by the National Institute on Aging and can be found here

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.



Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Most read articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Practice Nursing Journal latest issue and most read articles.

Click here to read a selection of free to access articles from Practice Nursing Journal


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.