Senior citizens are at a much higher risk of being injured in a fall accident, because of age-related physical changes that make it harder for them to retain balance and avoid falls. A new study actually finds that many of these fall accidents can be linked to the medications that senior citizens take.
According to the study that was conducted by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, as many as 50% of the most commonly prescribed prescription drugs that are taken by senior citizens actually increased the risk of suffering a fall. Of the 20 most commonly prescribed medications, painkillers and antidepressants were found to have the highest likelihood of increasing the risk of a fall. The study was based on more than 64,000 Swedes above the age of 65, and found that Swedes who took painkillers and antidepressants were at the highest risk of being injured in a fall accident. As many as 11 out of the 20 prescription drugs that were studied as part of the analysis were linked to severe injuries.
Apart from painkillers and antidepressants, other medications like hypnotics, analgesics and other drugs that have a direct impact on the central nervous system were found to have a much higher risk of contributing to a senior fall.
There are currently more than 40 million senior citizens in the United States above the age of 65, and the majority of them are currently on some prescription drugs. Most of them are on more than one prescription drug. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, approximately one- third of senior citizens in this country are on eight or more medications every day. Doctors need to prescribe medications more cautiously, to take into consideration the higher fall and injury risks associated with some drugs.
It’s important for the caregiver of a senior citizen to monitor intake of prescription drugs. It’s also equally important for doctors to be aware of any changes made to the medications of a senior. Our home care companions can help monitor a seniors medication program, and look out for signs of side effects of drug interactions that could increase drowsiness and other fall risks. Regular visits to the doctor can also help identify dangerous signs of drug interactions, and our senior care companions can help schedule those visits as well. Call today to learn more about how we can help take care of your loved one.