In a recent study, older individuals who had fallen and broken a hip used antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications more frequently than the general older population.
The analysis measured drug levels in individuals' blood samples, which provided investigators with a more precise measure than asking participants if they took the medications or examining their medical records. Indeed, the drugs were often present in these samples despite no information in patients' medical records.
"We were surprised to find that so many patients had centrally-acting drugs in their blood without doctors being aware of this use. Several of the detected drugs increase the risk of falling, which underscores the clinical relevance of these findings," said Ragnhild Birkeland Waade, lead author of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study.
Article: Psychotropics and weak opioid analgesics in plasma samples of older hip fracture patients - detection frequencies and consistency with drug records, Ragnhild Birkeland Waade, Espen Molden, Mette Irene Martinsen, Monica Hermann, Anette Hylen Ranhoff, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, doi: 10.1111/bcp.13244, published online 7 March 2017.