Controlled Substance Use and Clinical Outcomes of Elderly Patients After a Fall

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Controlled substance use, particularly among the rising elderly population, places these patients at a much higher risk of falls, injuries, and hospitalization. This study examines the association between preinjury controlled substance prescription and clinical outcomes of older adults after a ground-level fall. A total of 5,930 patients were included. Their home medication list was analyzed to record active opioids, benzodiazepines, narcotics, or other substances defined as controlled according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. Almost half (45%) of the patients were taking controlled substances. Sixty-seven percent of those were females. Total hospital days, Injury Severity Score (ISS), and mortality outcomes were not significantly different between groups. However, intensive care unit (ICU) days, days on mechanical ventilation (MV), and discharge destination were significantly different for patients taking controlled substances versus those not taking controlled substances. Patients taking controlled substances were more likely to be discharged to short- and long-term care facilities versus patients not taking controlled substances (P≤0.001).