Background: Fall injuries account for a substantial part of the health burden among elderly persons, and they often affect life quality severely and impose large societal costs. Alcohol intoxication is a well-known risk factor for accidental injuries, but less is known about this association among elderly people. In this study, our aim was to assess whether risk of fall injuries among the elderly is elevated with an intoxication-oriented drinking pattern. Method: We applied a population case-control design and data from persons aged 60 years and over in Norway. Cases comprised patients with fall injuries admitted to a hospital emergency department ( n = 424), and controls were participants in general population surveys ( n = 1859). Drinking pattern was assessed from self-reports of drinking frequency and intoxication frequency. Age and gender-adjusted association between fall injury and drinking pattern was estimated in logistic regression models. Fall injuries were considered alcohol-related if blood alcohol concentration exceeded 0.01% and/or the patient reported alcohol intake within six hours prior to injury. Results: The risk of fall injuries was highly elevated among those reporting drinking to intoxication monthly or more often ( OR = 10.2, 95% CI 5.5–19.0). Among cases, the vast majority of those with alcohol-related fall injuries (64 of 68) reported drinking to intoxication. Conclusions: A drinking pattern comprising alcohol intoxication elevated the risk of fall injuries among elderly people. As alcohol use is a modifiable risk factor, the findings suggest a potential to curb the number of fall injuries and their consequences by employing effective strategies to prevent intoxication drinking among the elderly.
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