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
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
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.
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?
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.
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.
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)
Fluphenazine (Permitil, Prolixin)
Loxapine (Loxitane, Loxitane C)
Meprobamate (Miltown, Equanil)
Morphine (MS Contin)
Venlafaxine (Effexor, Effexor XR)
Go here to see -- Prescription medications that increase the risk of falls for patients 65 and older.
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room