Medications can increase the risk of falls and falling; and, are a major cause of injuries and death in older adults.
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
During the entire 8 and a half years, 3,112 days, that I was taking care of my mother, I worried about her falling.
Falls can result in hip injuries, head injuries, or something worse.
If you loved one is falling, or complaining of "dizziness" check out the list of medications below; and then, consult with your personal care doctor.
The drugs older people take can make them more susceptible to falling.
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Research studies indicate that falling is a leading cause of injury deaths for people 65 and older -- see Falls Among Older Adults: An Overview.
- More than one third of adults 65 and older fall each year in the United States
- Twenty percent to 30% of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as bruises, hip fractures, or head traumas.
- Men are more likely to die from a fall.
- The risk of being seriously injured in a fall increases with age.
- People 75 and older who fall are four to five times more likely to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer.
Here are some popular drugs that are on the list Celexa, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Prozac and Risperdal.
Prescription Medications that Increase the Risks of Patient Falls
Generic Name (Brand Name)
Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR)
Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Tegretol XR, Carbatrol)
Chlordiazepoxide (Librium, Limbitrol, Librax)
Codeine (Tylenol with Codeine)
Divalproex sodium (Depakote, Depakote ER)
Doxepin (Sinequan, Zonalon, Prudoxin)
Olanzapine (Zyprexa, Zyprexa Zydis)
Propoxyphene (Darvon, Darvocet)
|Felbamate (Felbatol) |
Fluphenazine (Permitil, Prolixin)
Loxapine (Loxitane, Loxitane C)
Meprobamate (Miltown, Equanil)
Morphine (MS Contin)
Venlafaxine (Effexor, Effexor XR)
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Stefanie Ferreri offered the following advice to patients and practitioners:
If patients see a drug they are taking on the list, they should not stop taking it. Next time they see their doctor, talk about the risk of falling and possible alternative medications.
Physicians should look for medications that have been proven safe and effective in older adults and look for medicines that have less of a sedating effect. Physicians should be especially wary of anticholinergics, a class of drugs that affect nerve cells and used to treat a wide range of conditions.
Pharmacists should be alert for patients sixty-five and older who are taking four or more drugs and be sure the patients know about the additional risk of falling created by their medications.
Please consider sharing this information with family and friends. Or your doctor.
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