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 2 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% 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 under-recognized, leading to preventable falls and related injury. Precise prediction of drug-related fall risk is of major importance for clinical decision-making," said 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."