Increased risk of falling with some drugs
CHAPEL HILL, NC (WTVD) -- Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have created a list of prescription drugs that increase the risk of falling for patients aged 65 and older who take four or more medications on a regular basis.
"Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for adults 65 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," said Susan Blalock, Ph.D., an associate professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
UNC-Chapel Hill researchers 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 used to treat a wide range of conditions.
Pharmacists should be alert for patients 65 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.
To download a list of the prescription medications that increase the risk of falls for patients 65 and older, click here.
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