MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Callisaya: Falls are common in older people and can lead to hip fracture and loss of mobility. Blood pressure reducing medications are commonly taken by older people to protect against heart attacks and stroke, but may have some unwanted side effects such as light-headedness and loss of balance. We found that older people who were on large doses of such medications were at increased risk of falling.
MedicalResearch: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Callisaya: Interestingly, our findings suggest that the dose of antihypertensive medication is at least as important, if not more important, than the type of antihypertensive in explaining this increased risk of falling.
MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Callisaya: When prescribing blood pressure medications, or increasing their dose in older people, care needs to be taken to balance the individual’s risk of falling against their perceived benefit in protecting against stroke or heart attack. Each person should be individually and carefully assessed for risk and benefit.
MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Callisaya: It will be important to conduct clinical trials to see if we can optimize the dose of blood pressure medications in older people such that their risk of falls is reduced while maintaining cardiovascular protection.