Antipsychotics Again Strongly Linked to Falls and Fractures


A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that elderly people taking antipsychotics are significantly more likely to experience falls and fractures, and a second study found that the frequency of falls in the elderly are increasing in the US. A third study published in General Hospital Psychiatry found that people with schizophrenia are more likely to experience falls and fractures — and the researchers noted that the scientific literature has “consistently highlighted antipsychotic medication” as an important risk factor for fractures.

In JAMA Internal Medicine, the study led by University of Western Ontario investigators examined records of 97,777 elderly Ontario adults who received a new prescription for an oral atypical antipsychotic between June 2003 and December 2011, and compared them to an equal number of matched controls.

“(T)he group receiving atypical antipsychotics had a 52% increased risk for a serious fall and a 50% increased risk for a nonvertebral osteoporotic fracture,” reported Medscape.

The second study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that between 1998-2010 in the US there was an 8% increase, or 30% relative increase, in falls in the elderly.

In the General Hospital Psychiatry study, UK researchers looked at eight studies involving 48,384 people with schizophrenia and 3,945,783 controls, and found that people diagnosed with schizophrenia were nearly twice as likely to experience bone fractures. “There was insufficient data to conduct a robust moderator analysis, but the narrative review consistently highlighted antipsychotic medication was an important risk factor for fractures,” they wrote.

More Evidence Antipsychotics Linked to Fractures, Falls (Medscape, January 13, 2015)

Fraser L, Liu K, Naylor KL, et al. Falls and Fractures With Atypical Antipsychotic Medication Use: A Population-Based Cohort Study. JAMA Intern Med. Published online January 12, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.6930. (Abstract)

Stubbs, Brendon, Fiona Gaughran, Alex J. Mitchell, Marc De Hert, Ross Farmer, Andrew Soundy, Simon Rosenbaum, and Davy Vancampfort. “Schizophrenia and the Risk of Fractures: A Systematic Review and Comparative Meta-Analysis.” General Hospital Psychiatry. Accessed January 26, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2015.01.004. (Abstract)

Christine T. Cigolle, Jinkyung Ha, Lillian C. Min, Pearl G. Lee, Tanya R. Gure, Neil B. Alexander, Caroline S. Blaum. The Epidemiologic Data on Falls, 1998-2010. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2015; DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.7533 (Abstract)

Study suggests increase in falls among the elderly (University of Michigan press release on ScienceDaily, January 19, 2015)


  1. This little fact is often omitted from these articles. Risperdal and a few other psych drugs cause raised prolactin. This puts a male patient at risk for growing breasts, but a female patient is at risk for missing or completely stopped periods leading to severe osteoporosis and bone fractures. Even some shrinks don’t know this.

    Report comment