The effect of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug on two important predictors for accidental falls: postural balance and manual reaction time. A randomized, controlled pilot study.
SourceHuman Movement Science, 30, 2, (2011), pp. 384-95
01 april 2011
Article / Letter to editor
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Human Movement Science
SubjectNCEBP 10: Human Movement & Fatigue DCN 1: Perception and Action; NCEBP 10: Human Movement & Fatigue DCN 1: DCN 1: Perception and Action
Accidental falls in older individuals are a major health and research topic. Increased reaction time and impaired postural balance have been determined as reliable predictors for those at risk of falling and are important functions of the central nervous system (CNS). An essential risk factor for falls is medication exposure. Amongst the medications related to accidental falls are the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). About 1-10% of all users experience CNS side effects. These side effects, such as dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, mood alteration, and confusion, seem to be more common during treatment with indomethacin. Hence, it is possible that maintenance of (static) postural balance and swift reactions to stimuli are affected by exposure to NSAIDs, indomethacin in particular, consequently putting older individuals at a greater risk for accidental falls. The present study investigated the effect of a high indomethacin dose in healthy middle-aged individuals on two important predictors of falls: postural balance and reaction time. Twenty-two healthy middle-aged individuals (59.5 +/- 4.7 years) participated in this double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized crossover trial. Three measurements were conducted with a week interval each. A measurement consisted of postural balance as a single task and while concurrently performing a secondary cognitive task and reaction time tasks. For the first measurement indomethacin 75 mg (slow-release) or a visually identical placebo was randomly assigned. In total, five capsules were taken orally in the 2.5 days preceding assessment. The second measurement was without intervention, for the final one the first placebo group got indomethacin and vice versa. Repeated measures GLM revealed no significant differences between indomethacin, placebo, and baseline in any of the balance tasks. No differences in postural balance were found between the single and dual task conditions, or on the performance of the dual task itself. Similarly, no differences were found on the manual reaction time tasks. The present study showed that a high indomethacin dose does not negatively affect postural balance and manual reaction time in this healthy middle-aged population. Although the relatively small and young sample limits the direct ability to generalize the results to a population at risk of falling, the results indicate that indomethacin alone is not likely to increase fall risk, as far as this risk is related to above mentioned important functions of the CNS, and not affected by comorbidities.
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