Sunday, November 15, 2009

Prescription medications that increase the risk of falls for patients 65 and older

Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for adults sixty-five and older, and research suggests that those taking four or more medications are at an even greater risk than those who don’t—perhaps two to three times greater. -- Susan Blalock, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.....
I am always worried that my mother might fall and injure herself -- or worse.

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.

The drugs older people take can make them more susceptible to falling.

Have you considered these facts? Asked your personal care physician if the drugs he or she is prescribing increase the chances of falling? Ever had a pharmacist warm you that a drug can increase the chances of falling?

When you are getting a prescription filled has the pharmacist every told you -- be careful this drug can increase falling?

Stefanie Ferreri offered the following advice to patients and practitioners:

For Patients
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.

For Doctors
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.

For Pharmacists
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.

Here are some popular drugs that are on the list Celexa, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Prozac and Risperdal.

Please consider sharing this information with family and friends. Or your doctor.

Go here to see -- Prescription medications that increase the risk of falls for patients 65 and older.
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Original content Bob DeMarco, Alzheimer's Reading Room


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