Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Some Drugs Increase Risk Of Falling

Date:
July 10, 2008
Source:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Summary:
Researchers 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.

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.

Blalock is the principal investigator of an ongoing study of a falls-prevention program she and fellow researchers developed for pharmacists to implement. Both the list of prescription drugs and some of the study's finding were published in the June issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy.

"What we've done as part of our study is to identify specific prescription drugs that are most likely to contribute to the falls," she said. The medications on the list cover a wide range of common prescription antidepressants, seizure medications, painkillers and more. The common denominator among them is that they all work to depress the central nervous system, which can make patients less alert and slower to react.

Stefanie Ferreri, Pharm.D., lead author of the paper and a clinical assistant professor in the pharmacy school, warns that patients need to be wary of more than just prescription medications, as many over-the-counter medications can also contribute to falls.

"Some allergy medications, sleep aids and some cold and cough remedies can have the same effects as prescription drugs," Ferreri said. "Always let your doctor know what over-the-counter medications you are taking and be sure to read the labels. Anything that can cause drowsiness can put you at increased risk of falling."

The researchers offered the following advice to patients and practitioners:

For Patients

  • 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.

For Doctors

  • 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.

For Pharmacists

  • 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.

The authors of the study are Ferreri, Blalock and assistant professor Mary Roth McClurg, Pharm.D., of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy; Karen Demby, Ph.D., social research specialist with the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center; and Carri Casteel, Ph.D., a research assistant professor with the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center and the UNC School of Public Health department of epidemiology.

To download a list of the prescription medications that increase the risk of falls for patients 65 and older, http://uncnews.unc.edu/images/stories/news/health/2008/drugslist.pdf


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Some Drugs Increase Risk Of Falling." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080709122343.htm>.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2008, July 10). Some Drugs Increase Risk Of Falling. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080709122343.htm
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Some Drugs Increase Risk Of Falling." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080709122343.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) As a third American missionary is confirmed to have contracted Ebola in Liberia, doctors on the ground in West Africa fear they're losing the battle against the outbreak. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) When Facebook acquired the virtual reality hardware developer Oculus VR in March for $2 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hailed the firm's technology as "a new communication platform." Duration: 02:24 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins