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 In Cardiology

A new analysis suggests that among older adults who take cardiovascular medications, those using non-selective beta-blockers may be at an increased of falling compared with those using selective beta-blockers.

These types of drugs are already known to differ by their receptor binding properties and their systemic effects on the body.

In the analysis of data from two prospective studies involving more than 10,000 individuals, use of a selective beta-blocker was not associated with fall risk, but use of a non-selective beta-blocker was associated with a 22 per cent increased risk. In total, 2,917 participants encountered a fall during follow-up.

The results indicate that fall risk should be considered when weighing the pros and cons of prescribing different beta-blocker classes for older individuals.

‘Drug-related falls remain underrecognised, leading to preventable falls and related injury. Precise prediction of drug-related fall risk is of major importance for clinical decision-making,’ explained Dr Nathalie van der Velde, senior author of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study.

‘Knowledge of type-specific effects such as selectivity in beta-blockers can be expected to improve decision-making.’

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