“All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 30 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

Benzodiazepines, Antidepressants Linked To Increased Risk Of Falls And Fractures In Older Adults

Jim Folk author
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: July 16, 2020

Benzodiazepines, Antidepressants Linked To Increased Risk Of Falls And Fractures In Older Adults

Numerous studies have found a link between psychotropic drugs, such as benzodiazepines and antidepressants, with an increased risk of falls and fractures in older adults (65 and older).[1][2][3][4][5]

This is particularly disturbing since one-in-four older adults take a benzodiazepine medication[6], and that there is a disturbing rise in benzodiazepine medications in the US.[7]

A recent study confirmed the link between benzodiazepine use and falls and fractures albeit with some questions.

Researchers found that, “compared with those older adults who were not prescribed an antidepressant, incident antidepressant users had a higher risk of hip fracture at all points during the year before and after taking the antidepressant, with the period of the most elevated risk at 30 to 16 days before an antidepressant was administered.”[8]

There is, however, some discussion about direct cause as the researchers thought other factors could be at play.[9] Nevertheless, they found “during the postfracture period, rightly or wrongly, antidepressants are prescribed at a high rate.”

What is further troubling is that even though this increased risk is well understood by primary care clinicians and psychiatrists, the use of these drugs continues to rise among older adults. This is particularly troubling because falls and fractures can lead to premature death in the elderly. Increasing the likelihood of falling due to these types of psychotropic medications seems like an unnecessary risk especially since taking these medications could precipitate an early death among those over 65 years of age.

Therefore, caution is advised. If you have an elderly loved one who is taking a benzodiazepine or antidepressant medication, you may want to talk with him/her and their doctor to see if discontinuation is appropriate. At the very least, close monitoring is essential.


Disclaimer: anxietycentre.com is not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted at anxietycentre.com by contributing institutions or for the use of any information throughout anxietycentre.com's system.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources:

Return to Anxiety Research section.

Anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including the latest in anxiety research: Benzodiazepines, Antidepressants Linked To Increased Risk Of Falls And Fractures In Older Adults.


1. de Jong, Marlies R, et al. “Drug-related falls in older patients: implicated drugs, consequences, and possible prevention strategies.” Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, 4 Aug. 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4125318/

2. Donnelly, Karen, et al. “Benzodiazepines, Z-drugs and the risk of hip fracture: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” PLOS One, 27 April 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5407557/

3. Vries, de, et al. “Elimination Half-Life of Benzodiazepines and Fall Risk: Two Prospective Observational Studies.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 30 July 2013, academic.oup.com/ageing/article/42/6/764/46902.

4. “The Association between Medications and Fall Risk.” CPSA, 8 Jan. 2016, www.cpsa.ca/the-association-between-medications-and-fall-risk/.

5. Mayor, Susan. “Antidepressants and Benzodiazepines Are Linked to Hip Fracture in Elderly People, Finds Study.” The BMJ, British Medical Journal Publishing Group, 9 Mar. 2017, www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.j1237.

6. "One in four older adults prescribed a benzodiazepine goes on to risky long-term use." Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan, Sep 2018, https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/mm-u-1i4090718.php

7. Hamzelou, Jessica. "Benzodiazepine prescriptions reach ‘disturbing’ levels in the US." NewScientist, 17 Jan 2020, https://www.newscientist.com/article/2230379-benzodiazepine-prescriptions-reach-disturbing-levels-in-the-us/#ixzz6MLKs5GYH"

8. Iaboni, Andrea. “A Status Update on the Association Between Antidepressants and Fractures: Breaking Up?” JAMA, American Medical Association, 2 Jan. 2019, jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2719272

9. “Antidepressants Tied to Hip Fracture Risk in Older Patients.” Medscape Log In, 2 Jan. 2019, www.medscape.com/viewarticle/907165...