Many Commonly Prescribed Drugs Taken By Older Adults Can Raise Risk of Falls

manwithcaneDo you have an aging loved one that may be taking a medication that may increase the risk of falls? 1 in 5 people who suffer a hip fracture die within the first year. Read on to learn if this could affect someone you know. Thanks for visiting us at Advocare of South Florida. We provide care management and transitional care management to area seniors of North Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and Palm Beach Island. 

Half of the 20 most commonly prescribed medications taken by older adults may raise the risk of falls, according to new research.

Painkillers and antidepressants were most strongly tied to a greater likelihood of being injured in a fall, the study of 64,000 Swedes over age 65 found. Severe injuries were significantly more common with 11 out of the 20 medications studied.

“Medications that affect the central nervous system; hypnotics, sedatives, analgesics and antidepressants,” were of particular concern, said Jette Moller from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the study’s senior author.

Some of the added risk may stem from the conditions the drugs are prescribed to treat, researchers note. But given the large and growing population of seniors, the study team says links between the drugs and fall injuries should be taken into account when doctors prescribe these popular medications.

More than 40 million people in the U.S. are over 65 years old, an age group that tends to take a large number of prescription drugs. Fully one third take eight or more medications daily, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Falls are a leading cause of disability and death among seniors and researchers increasingly suspect that prescription medications play an important role in fall injuries.

Moller and her colleagues looked at falls among people taking any of the 20 medications most commonly prescribed to seniors in Sweden, several of which were already known to be fall-inducing drugs. The researchers analyzed data on nearly seven million Swedish people over age 65 and identified 64,399 cases of falling injuries that led to hospitalization.

After adjusting for the number of medications a person was taking, the researchers found men and women taking opioid painkillers as well as men taking antidepressants were more than twice as likely to have a fall injury as seniors who were not taking those drugs. Women taking antidepressants were 75 percent more likely to have a fall injury.

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