How many medications do you take? If you can’t count the number of medications on one hand, studies suggest you should sit down. Researchers at the University of North Carolina have determined that seniors who take four or more prescription medications have two to three times the risk of falling as seniors who take fewer medications. Some of those drugs, the researchers say, may actually contribute to the risk of falling.
Some common antidepressants, seizure medications and painkillers have made the list, according to lead study author, Dr. Susan Blalock. These types of drugs all depress the nervous system, leading to slower response times and a lessening of coordination, especially among seniors, according to the report. Study results are published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy.
Researchers recommend that, should a senior discover they are taking one of the meds mentioned on the list, they continue taking the medication until discussing possible side effects and falls risk with their physician. They also suggest that doctors prescribe alternative medications with less sedating effects and that pharmacists be on the look-out for seniors who are taking four or more medications, and to alert those who are to the risks.
The bottom line is that health care providers need to be aware of the medication their patients are taking. Each medication should be scrutinized as to its necessity. Read more about the study from McKnight’s here.