Medications can be both helpful and a potential risk. While medications help manage various health conditions, some can increase the risk of falls. If you are taking any of these medications, you should work with your physicians and pharmacists to understand the potential fall risks involved so that you can take the proper steps to protect yourself.
- Sedatives and Hypnotics: These medications, including benzodiazepines and sleep aids, can cause drowsiness and impaired alertness, increasing the likelihood of falls.
- Antidepressants: Certain antidepressants, particularly tricyclic antidepressants, may lead to dizziness, blurred vision, and orthostatic hypotension (which is a drop in blood pressure when standing up), making falls more likely.
- Antipsychotic Medications: Some antipsychotic drugs can cause sedation, dizziness, and impaired balance, increasing the risk of falls.
- Antihypertensive Medications: Blood pressure-lowering drugs can lead to orthostatic hypotension (drop in blood pressure when standing up), which can result in dizziness, fainting, and potentially causing a fall.
- Antiepileptic Drugs: These medications, especially in higher doses, can affect coordination and may increase the risk of falls.
- Muscle Relaxants: Medications used to relax muscles can cause drowsiness and impair motor skills, which may make falls more likely.
- Opioid Pain Medications: Opioid drugs can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired cognition, all of which contribute to fall risk.
- Diuretics: These medications, often prescribed for high blood pressure or heart conditions, can lead to frequent urination and electrolyte imbalances, potentially increasing the risk of falls.
- Anti-anxiety Medications: Some anti-anxiety drugs, such as benzodiazepines, can cause drowsiness and affect coordination, making individuals more prone to falling.
- Antihistamines: Over the counter or prescription antihistamines can lead to drowsiness and impaired cognitive function, increasing the risk of falls.
It’s essential to be aware of the potential effects of medications on balance and mobility. Regularly reviewing medication lists with physicians and pharmacists will help identify medications that may pose a fall risk. In some cases, alternative medications with fewer side effects can be considered or altering the timing between medications.
Understanding and following medication guidelines, while also avoiding alcohol and substances that worsen fall risks, is crucial. Communicate openly with healthcare professionals about side effects to adjust medications for safety. Medication management is vital for fall prevention.
Please enjoy the next blog in our fall awareness series: Fall Prevention Awareness Week: Physical Therapy: A Key Component of Fall Prevention