Withdrawal of fall-risk-increasing drugs has been proven to be effective in older persons. However, given the enormous rise in healthcare costs in recent decades, the effect of such withdrawals on healthcare costs also needs to be considered.Method
Within a common geriatric outpatient population, patients with a history of falls were assessed for falls risk (n = 139). Fall-risk-increasing drugs were withdrawn when appropriate (n = 75). All participants had a 2-month follow-up for fall incidents. The number of prevented falls was calculated using a loglinear regression model. The savings on health expenditures as a result of prevented injuries (estimated from a literature review) and reduced consumption of pharmaceuticals were compared with the intervention costs.Results
After adjustment for confounders, drug withdrawal resulted in a falls risk reduction of 0.89 (95% CI 0.33, 0.98) per patient compared with the non-withdrawal group. Net cost savings were €1691 (95% CI 662, 2181) per patient in the cohort. This resulted in a cost saving of €491 (95% CI 465, 497) per prevented fall.Conclusion
Withdrawal of fall-risk-increasing drugs generates significant cost savings. Extrapolation of these findings to a national scale results in an estimated reduction of €60 million in healthcare expenditures, that is, 15% of fall-related health costs.