Oslo, Norway—Older patients who had fallen and broken a hip were found to have used antidepressant and antianxiety medications more frequently than the general older population, according to research that actually measured drug levels in the individual’s blood samples. The report, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, notes that laboratory results provided investigators with a more precise measure than asking participants if they took the medications or examining their medical records. Diakonhjemmet Hospital–led researchers point out that the drugs were often present in samples, even though there was no corresponding information in the medical records. Psychotropic drugs and/or weak opioid analgesics were detected in 158 (63%) of the patients, median age 84. The occurrences of diazepam (odds ratio 1.6), nitrazepam (OR 2.3), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (OR 1.9), and mirtazapine (OR 2.3) were significantly higher in plasma samples of hip fracture patients than in prescription data from the reference population, study authors conclude.
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Published March 30, 2017