The relationship between number of medications and weight loss or impaired balance in older adults

Author(s): Agostini JV, Han L, Tinetti ME


Objectives: To examine the relationship between cumulative medication exposure and risk of two common manifestations of adverse drug effects: weight loss and impaired balance.

Design: Cross-sectional and longitudinal cohort.

Setting: Urban Connecticut community.

Participants: Eight hundred eighty-five community-dwelling residents aged 72 and older.

Measurements: Weight loss (> or =10 pounds) and balance, a composite of four balance measures.

Results: Participants took a mean+/-standard deviation of 2.2+/-1.9 medications (range 0-15). After adjustment for age, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, vision and hearing impairments, number of chronic diseases, and number of hospitalizations in the previous year, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for weight loss was 1.48 (95% confidence interval (CI)=0.85-2.59) for those taking one to two medications, 1.96 (95% CI=1.08-3.54) for three to four medications, and 2.78 (95% CI=1.38-5.60) for five or more medications. For impaired balance, adjusted ORs were 1.44 (95% CI=0.94-2.19), 1.72 (95% CI=1.09-2.71), and 1.80 (95% CI=1.02-3.19), respectively.

Conclusion: A greater number of medications were associated with increased risk of adverse drug outcomes, after extensive adjustment for chronic illness. Clinicians should consider the adverse effects of total drug use and not merely the benefits or risks of individual medications for specific diseases.

Similar Articles

Barriers to nutrition care for nursing home residents

Author(s): Crogan NL, Shultz JA, Adams CE, Massey LK

Upper gastrointestinal pH in seventy-nine healthy, elderly, North American men and women

Author(s): Russell TL, Berardi RR, Barnett JL, Dermentzoglou LC, Jarvenpaa KM, et al.

Enhanced oral cyclosporine absorption with water-soluble vitamin E early after liver transplantation

Author(s): Pan SH, Lopez RR Jr, Sher LS, Hoffman AL, Podesta LG, et al.

Enhancement of the bioavailability of propranolol and metoprolol by food

Author(s): Melander A, Danielson K, Scherstén B, Wåhlin E

Recent patterns of medication use in the ambulatory adult population of the United States: the Slone survey

Author(s): Kaufman DW, Kelly JP, Rosenberg L, Anderson TE, Mitchell AA

Intake of medication and vitamin status in the elderly

Author(s): Fabian E, Bogner M, Kickinger A, Wagner KH, Elmadfa I

Risk of malnutrition in retirement homes elderly persons measured by the "mini-nutritional assessment"

Author(s): Griep MI, Mets TF, Collys K, Ponjaert-Kristoffersen I, Massart DL

Taste loss in hospitalized multimorbid elderly subjects

Author(s): Toffanello ED, Inelmen EM, Imoscopi A, Perissinotto E, Coin A, et al.

Use of proton-pump inhibitors and their associated risks among frail elderly nursing home residents

Author(s): Teramura-Grönblad M, Hosia-Randell H, Muurinen S, Pitkala K

Bacterial overgrowth without clinical malabsorption in elderly hypochlorhydric subjects

Author(s): Saltzman JR, Kowdley KV, Pedrosa MC, Sepe T, Golner B, et al.

Food-drug interactions

Author(s): Schmidt LE, Dalhoff K