NMA: Nonprescription Medicines Academy

USPSTF Guideline Recommends Vitamin D for Fall Prevention

August 1st, 2012

A new recommendation statement from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) advises vitamin D supplementation in addition to exercise or physical therapy to prevent falls in community-dwelling adults 65 years of age or older who are at increased risk for falls.

According to information included in the recommendation statement, falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults. Between 30% and 40% of community-dwelling adults 65 years of age or older fall at least once per year.

The recommendation statement reflects data from nine trials that found an approximate 17% reduction in risk for falling during 6 to 36 months of follow-up, with a number needed to treat of 10. The median dosage studied was 800 IU daily, which is consistent with current recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and the American Geriatrics Society. The median duration of the trials was 12 months; the efficacy of shorter treatment is unknown.

The full recommendation statement and a “Summaries for Patients” page can be accessed on the Annals of Internal Medicine website at http://annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/0003-4819-157-3-201208070-00462.

Ann Intern Med. 2012 May 28. [Epub ahead of print]