Peer Reviewed


Document Type


Publication Date



Adherence, antihypertensive therapy, injurious falls, older adults.


The original article is available at


OBJECTIVE: Growing evidence suggests that older adults are at an increased risk of injurious falls when initiating antihypertensive medication, while the evidence regarding long-term use of antihypertensive medication and the risk of falling is mixed. However, long-term users who stop and start these medications may have a similar risk of falling to initial users of antihypertensive medication. Our aim was to evaluate the association between gaps in antihypertensive medication adherence and injurious falls in older (≥65 years) community-dwelling, long-term (≥≥1 year) antihypertensive users.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

SETTING: Irish Community Pharmacy.

PARTICIPANTS: Consecutive participants presenting a prescription for antihypertensive medication to 106 community pharmacies nationwide, community-dwelling, ≥65 years, with no evidence of cognitive impairment, taking antihypertensive medication for ≥1 year (n=938).

MEASURES: Gaps in antihypertensive medication adherence were evaluated from linked dispensing records as the number of 5-day gaps between sequential supplies over the 12-month period prior to baseline. Injurious falls during follow-up were recorded via questionnaire during structured telephone interviews at 12 months.

RESULTS: At 12 months, 8.1% (n=76) of participants reported an injurious fall requiring medical attention. The mean number of 5-day gaps in medication refill behaviour was 1.47

CONCLUSION: Each 5-day gap in antihypertensive refill adherence increased the risk of self-reported injurious falls by 18%. Gaps in antihypertensive adherence may be a marker for increased risk of injurious falls. It is unknown whether adherence-interventions will reduce subsequent risk. This finding is hypothesis generating and should be replicated in similar populations.


Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Dillon P, Smith SM, Gallagher PJ, Cousins G. Association between gaps in antihypertensive medication adherence and injurious falls in older community-dwelling adults: a prospective cohort study. BMJ Open. 2019;9(3):e022927.

PubMed ID


DOI Link


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.