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Fall risk with SNRIs similar to other antidepressants

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) may increase the risk of falls in older people in a manner similar to other antidepressants.

Falls were monitored in 9,862 people aged over 60 on the THIN UK primary care database, with each faller matched with up to six controls.

The risk of falls for patients currently prescribed SNRIs was increased by 79% relative to controls not taking the drugs. The increased risk appeared within 28 days after the first prescription.

A slightly smaller effect was found with the self-controlled case-series analysis, with a 49% increased risk compared with controls.

The effect was similar in size to the risk of falls in patients taking tricyclic antidepressants or SSRIs.

Study leader Jonathan Gribbin, a researcher at the division of epidemiology and public health sciences, University of Nottingham, said: ‘Treatment with SNRIs in older people may be associated with an increased risk of falling. The falls risk profile of SNRIs appears to be similar to that of SSRIs and TCAs.'

Drugs Aging 2011 online 18 Oct