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Open Access Research article

Psychotropic drugs and the risk of fractures in old age: a prospective population-based study

Janne Nurminen12*, Juha Puustinen13, Maarit Piirtola1, Tero Vahlberg4 and Sirkka-Liisa Kivelä15

Author Affiliations

1 Family Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Turku, Lemminkäisenkatu 1, Turku, 20014, Finland

2 Härkätie Health Center, PL 51, Lieto, 21421, Finland, and Turku Health Center, PL 670, Turku, 20101, Finland

3 Unit of Neurology, Satakunta Central Hospital, Sairaalantie 3, Pori, 28500, Finland

4 Department of Biostatistics, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Turku, Lemminkäisenkatu 1, Turku, 20014, Finland

5 Turku University Hospital, PL 52, Turku, 20521, Finland, and Satakunta Central Hospital, Sairaalantie 3, Pori, 28500, Finland

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:396  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-396

Published: 6 July 2010

Abstract

Background

There is evidence that the use of any psychotropic and the concomitant use of two or more benzodiazepines are related to an increased risk of fractures in old age. However, also controversial results exist. The aim was to describe associations between the use of a psychotropic drug, or the concomitant use of two or more of these drugs and the risk of fractures in a population aged 65 years or over.

Methods

This study was a part of a prospective longitudinal population-based study carried out in the municipality of Lieto, South-Western Finland. The objective was to describe gender-specific associations between the use of one psychotropic drug [benzodiazepine (BZD), antipsychotic (AP) or antidepressant (AD)] or the concomitant use of two or more psychotropic drugs and the risk of fractures in a population 65 years or over. Subjects were participants in the first wave of the Lieto study in 1990-1991, and they were followed up until the end of 1996. Information about fractures confirmed with radiology reports in 1,177 subjects (482 men and 695 women) during the follow-up was collected from medical records. Two follow-up periods (three and six years) were used, and previously found risk factors of fractures were adjusted as confounding factors separately for men and women. The Poisson regression model was used in the analyses.

Results

The concomitant use of two or more BZDs and the concomitant use of two or more APs were related to an increased risk of fractures during both follow-up periods after adjusting for confounding factors in men. No similar associations were found in women.

Conclusions

The concomitant use of several BZDs and that of several APs are associated with an increase in the risk of fractures in older men. Our findings show only risk relations. We cannot draw the conclusion that these drug combinations are causes of fractures.