Background In sedentary subjects use of medication is expected to be high which may cause problems when taking up exercise as several types of medication have been linked to musculoskeletal disorders.
Objective To study the relation between medication use and the incidence of running-related injuries in novice runners.
Design Prospective cohort study with propensity score matching analysis.
Setting A nationwide start to run program for novice runners (N=7,660).
Patients (or Participants) Novice runners (N=1,696) aged between 18–65 years taking part in a start to run program.
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) Self-reported medication use was assessed with a questionnaire at baseline. Medication was categorized according to (1) condition and (2) chemical properties. Subjects who used medication were matched to controls using propensity score matching.
Main Outcome Measurements Incidence rate differences were calculated between subjects that used medication and matched controls for each medication category.
Results Women who took contraceptives had lower incidence densities of running-related injuries compared to matched controls both when medication was categorized according to condition (all contraceptives: incidence rate difference=−21.2 injuries/1000 h, 95% CI −41.9−−0.5) and according to chemical properties (hormonal contraceptives: incidence rate difference=−35.7 injuries/1000 h, 95% CI −61.3−−10.1). For other medication types no relation with injuries was established.
Conclusions The study gives an overview of the influence of medication use on injuries in novice runners. Only for contraceptive use a relation with injuries was found. The use of contraceptives seems to have a preventive effect on the occurrence of injuries. An explanation for this finding may be the direct hormonal effect of contraceptives, for example on neuromuscular control and joint laxity, or an indirect effect through personal characteristics related to contraceptive use, such as health behaviour or risk-taking behaviour.
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