Polypharmacy Is Associated with Falls in Women with and Without HIV

Christina K. Psomas, Donald R. Hoover, Qiuhu Shi, Todd T. Brown, David E. Vance, Susan Holman, Michael W. Plankey, Phyllis C. Tien, Kathleen M. Weber, Michelle Floris-Moore, Hector H. Bolivar, Elizabeth T. Golub, Marcia McDonnell Holstad, Kendra K. Radtke, Bani Tamraz, Kristine M. Erlandson, Leah H. Rubin, Anjali Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background:Aging in people with HIV is associated with increased risk of developing synergistic conditions such as neurocognitive impairment, polypharmacy, and falls. We assessed associations between polypharmacy (use of 5 or more non-ART medications), use of neurocognitive adverse effects (NCAE) medications, and odds of falls in women with HIV (WWH) and without HIV (HIV-).Methods:Self-reported falls and medication use data were contributed semiannually by 1872 (1315 WWH and 557 HIV-) Women's Interagency HIV Study participants between 2014 and 2016. Polypharmacy and NCAE medication use were evaluated separately and jointly in multivariable models to assess their independent contributions to single and multiple falls risk.Results:The proportion of women who reported any fall was similar by HIV status (19%). WWH reported both greater polypharmacy (51% vs. 41%; P < 0.001) and NCAE medication use (44% vs. 37%; P = 0.01) than HIV-women. Polypharmacy conferred elevated odds of single fall [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.67, 95% CI: 1.36 to 2.06; P < 0.001] and multiple falls (aOR 2.31, 95% CI: 1.83 to 2.93; P < 0.001); the results for NCAE medications and falls were similar. Both polypharmacy and number of NCAE medications remained strongly and independently associated with falls in multivariable models adjusted for HIV serostatus, study site, sociodemographics, clinical characteristics, and substance use.Conclusions:Polypharmacy and NCAE medication use were greater among WWH compared with HIV-, and both were independently and incrementally related to falls. Deprescribing and avoidance of medications with NCAEs may be an important consideration for reducing fall risk among WWH and sociodemographically similar women without HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-359
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • HIV
  • fall
  • neurocognitive impairment
  • polypharmacy
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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