In the United States, there are 40 million people aged 65 and older. According to News Max Health, one-third of this group of people take eight or more prescription medications. With so many seniors taking prescription drugs, it is essential to understand the full impact that prescription medications can have on their health. This is why a recent Swedish study is so important.
The Swedish study involved a review of the records of more than seven million Swedish people who were 65-years-old or older. The researchers identified 64,339 cases in which the seniors were admitted to a hospital as a result of injuries from a fall. As Pharmacy Times reports, the researchers then looked at the gender, birth dates, place of residents and medications prescribed among the fall victims. The research showed that certain medications ended up being potentially linked to an increased risk of falls.
Understanding when a medication could increase the risk of a fall is important because many seniors who are in nursing homes or who are under the care of home caregivers take the drugs that could lead to falls. Nursing home staff need to be aware of the risks of falls so they can protect senior citizens. Doctors who prescribe drugs to seniors also need to know which medications are likely to cause fall injuries so they can make appropriate warnings. If a nursing home fails to protect its patients by preventing falls from occurring, a personal injury lawyer can help.
Medications and Fall Injury Risks for Seniors
Out of the 20 most commonly-prescribed medications for senior citizens, 10 of the drugs were potentially linked to an increase risk of falling injuries. Some of the most dangerous medications included antidepressant drugs and opioid pain killers. Both men and women taking opioid pain killers had double the risk of a fall compared with patients who were not on pain killers. For men taking antidepressants, the risk of a fall was also doubled while for women taking these medications, there was a 75 percent increase in the chances of a fall injury.
Other medications that could be linked to an increased risk of falling included drugs that treat gastrointestinal disorders and ulcers; certain non-opioid pain killers, and vitamin B 12.
In some situations, it could be difficult to determine if the extra risk of falling was caused by the medication or resulted from an underlying medical condition that the drug was prescribed to treat. There was, however, a definite link between high-risk medications and seniors taking a fall.
Other medications, on the other hand, actually had a protective effect and could potentially reduce the chances of a senior falling. Cardiovascular drugs were an example of medicines that could correlate to a reduction in fall risks.
Nursing homes should be aware of the high-risk medications and should take extra precautions to prevent seniors under their care from suffering a fall after taking these drugs.
Contact a Phoenix, AZ accident attorney at Israel & Gerity after your accident. Call 888-900-3667 or visit http://www.ig-law.com to schedule your free consultation.