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Reduce your risk of falls | Resident & Family Newsletter | Oct2020

August 2020 | Be Well — Be Safe | View PDF

As we age, our risk of falling increases. Older persons are nine times more likely to have a falls-related injury compared to those less than 65 years of age. Falls in seniors can lead to hospitalization or immobility. This risk is even higher in those who are receiving multiple medications. The good news is, modifying medications can reduce the risk of falls.

SO WHAT ARE SOME MEDICATIONS THAT CAN INCREASE MY RISK OF FALLING?

Prescription medications*

  • Anti-anxiety medications, such as diazepam (Valium®) and lorazepam (Ativan®)
  • Overactive bladder medications, such as oxybutynin (Ditropan®) and tolterodine (Detrol®)
  • Antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil®). May also be prescribed to help relieve chronic pain, especially nerve pain.
  • Prescription sleep drugs, including Zopiclone (Imovane®)
  • Narcotics (opioids), such as codeine, morphine, oxycodone (e.g. Percocet®), hydromorphone (Dilaudid®), and fentanyl (Duragesic®)
  • Diabetes and blood pressure medications

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications*

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®)
    It causes drowsiness and is the most popular ingredient in OTC sleep aids like Nyquil® and Unisom®. It is often combined with pain, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol® PM), ibuprofen (Motrin® PM, Advil® PM), and naproxen (Aleve® PM) and may be found in cold medications as well
  • Dimenhydrinate (Gravol®)

Recreational substance use

  • Alcohol
  • Cannabis

*this is not an exhaustive list of medications increasing the risk of falls in older adults

HOW CAN I REDUCE MY RISK OF FALLS?

  1. Maintain physical activity
  2. Get regular vision checks
  3. Take caution when initiating or changing any of these medications
  4. Ask your pharmacist for medication review to reduce your risk of falls

References:

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/medications-that-increase-your-risk-of-falling

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