Risk of In-Hospital Falls among Medications Commonly Used for Insomnia in Hospitalized Patients.

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To investigate the risk of in-hospital falls among patients receiving medications commonly used for insomnia in the hospital setting.


Retrospective cohort study of all adult hospitalizations to a large academic medical center from 1/2007 to 7/2013. We excluded patients admitted for a primary psychiatric disorder. Medication exposures of interest, defined by pharmacy charges, included benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepine benzodiazepine receptor agonists (BZRAs), trazodone, atypical antipsychotics, and diphenhydramine. In-hospital falls were ascertained from an online patient safety reporting system.


Among the 225,498 hospitalizations (median age = 57 years; 57.9% female) in our cohort, 84,911 (37.7%) had exposure to at least one of the five medication classes of interest; benzodiazepines were the most commonly used (23.5%), followed by diphenydramine (8.3%), trazodone (6.6%), BZRAs (6.4%), and atypical antipsychotics (6.3%). A fall occurred in 2,427 hospitalizations (1.1%). The rate of falls per 1,000 hospital days was greater among hospitalizations with exposure to each of the medications of interest, compared to unexposed: 3.6 versus 1.7 for benzodiazepines (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 1.8, 95%CI 1.6-1.9); 5.4 versus 1.8 for atypical antipsychotics (aHR 1.6, 95%CI 1.4-1.8); 3.0 versus 2.0 for BZRAs (aHR 1.5, 95%CI 1.3-1.8); 3.3 versus 2.0 for trazodone (aHR 1.2, 95%CI 1.1-1.5); and 2.5 versus 2.0 for diphenhydramine (aHR 1.2, 95%CI 1.03-1.5).


In this large cohort of hospitalizations at an academic medical center, we found an association between each of the sedating medications examined and in-hospital falls. Benzodiazepines, BZRAs, and atypical antipsychotics had the strongest associations.

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Risk of In-Hospital Falls among Medications Commonly Used for Insomnia in Hospitalized Patients.
Herzig SJ, Rothberg MB, Moss CR, Maddaleni G, Bertisch SM, Wong J, Zhou W, Ngo L, Anderson TS, Gurwitz JH, Marcantonio ER