Depression therapy may increase fall risk

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Nursing home residents receiving psychosocial treatments for depression have almost six times the risk of falling compared to residents not receiving treatment, according to a new study.

A University of Louisville-based research team compared data from residents with depression at 23 facilities, split into two groups: one control group and one that received psychosocial depression treatments such as group and cognitive behavioral therapies.

While previous studies have linked fall risk to depression, data on falls as an adverse event of depression treatments was lacking, researchers said.

Results of the study determined members of the group that received therapy were almost six times likelier to fall than those in the control group. Although residents in both groups shared risk factors such as chronic illnesses, the psychosocial treatment group still had “a significantly higher rate of falls,” the researchers said.

The study's authors noted the increased risk could be linked to all depression treatments, since individuals who are no longer depressed are more likely to stand or walk. 

Results of the study appear in Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications