Polypharmacy is known to be a risk factor for falls or bone fracture (F/F) in elderly patients. However, this relationship is not fully described in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF), for which F/F may lead to serious clinical outcomes, including major bleeding.
We analyzed 509 elderly (aged ≥75 years) patients with NVAF who had recently visited a hospital specializing in cardiology, of which 272 patients had paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) and 237 had persistent/permanent atrial fibrillation (PeAF). Patients were divided into four groups according to the number of medications: ≤3, 4-6, 7-9, and ≥10. The relationship between the number of medications and incidence rate of F/F in AF patients was analyzed. In addition, this relationship was analyzed in patients with each AF type.
Cumulative incidence of F/F at 3 years in the respective categories was 3.7%, 5.4%, 4.3% and 5.7% for PAF, and 5.2%, 7.5%, 7.8% and 25.0% for PeAF (log-rank test, P = 0.930 and 0.003, respectively). In a multivariable model, patients with ≥10 medications showed a significantly higher risk for F/F compared with those with ≤3 medications as reference only in PeAF (adjusted hazard ratio 4.82, 95%CI 1.42-16.33), without significant interaction (P = 0.081).
Elderly NVAF patients using ≥10 medications showed a higher risk for F/F. In subgroup analysis, this association was observed only in patients with PeAF, although there was no significant interaction between number of medications and AF type. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2021; ••: ••-••.

© 2021 Japan Geriatrics Society.