Medications are associated with falls in people with multiple sclerosis

Michelle H. Cameron, Lisa Karstens, Phu Hoang, Dennis Bourdette, Stephen Lord

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Medication use is associated with falls in many populations, but the relationship between medications and falls in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) is not well understood. Methods: The number and types of medications used by 248 ambulatory adults with MS in the United States (n = 53) and Australia (n = 195) were assessed. Participants completed fall diaries for 6 months. Associations between number and type of medications reported and falls, adjusting for age, disease severity, comorbidities, sex, and country, were evaluated using multiple logistic regression. Results: Participants reported taking a median of three medications and two supplements. A total of 143 participants (58%) fell at least once in the 6 months, and 110 (44%) experienced one or more injurious falls. The adjusted relative odds of a fall or an injurious fall increased by 13% (P = .048) and 11% (P = .049), respectively, for each medication and by 43% (P = .015) and 55% (P = .001) for each neurologically active medication. Reported use of MS disease-modifying therapy was associated with 48% decreased odds of falling (P = .035) but not significantly decreased odds of injurious falls. Conclusions: Reporting use of more medications and more neurologically active medications is associated with falls and injurious falls in people with MS. Close evaluation of the need for each medication, with associated minimization of neurologically active medications in patients with MS, may help prevent falls. Use of MS disease-modifying therapies may be associated with fewer falls. This relationship needs further evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-214
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of MS Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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