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Impact of Opioids on Fall Risk

Gauge fall risk with this checklist

As part of our work with university schools of pharmacy, Qualis Health developed a checklist to help prescribers screen for risk factors related to falls among the Medicare population.

More information

To learn more about this ongoing work, please contact Negar Golchin, PharmD MPH.

Too many Medicare beneficiaries suffer from falls. Opioid medications are a major contributor.

Qualis Health is analyzing claims data (June 2016 - May 2017) in order to examine whether there are relationships between:

  • Risk of falls that lead to hospitalization or ED utilization
  • Opioid type, dosing, and timing among various Medicare beneficiary subpopulations
    • New opioid use
    • Chronic opioid use
    • Concurrent use of opioids and benzodiazepines
    • Opioid use among those diagnosed with dementia

We are partnering with the Washington Department of Health to apply the results of this investigation toward improving prescribing practices.

This analysis is still underway. However, we can share results of the first calculations, which showed statisticaly significant differences in fall risk between those with and without a prescription for opioids.


Measure Criteria
The rate’s denominator includes all Medicare beneficiaries with fall-related ED/inpatient care during the measurement year who did not have a history of falling in the previous 12 months. The rate’s numerator includes those who fell 0 - 30 days after being prescribed an opioid medication and did not have a prescription for opioids during the 90-day period before the 0- to 30-day timeframe.

More results will be coming soon!