Taking multiple medications is linked to falls - the greater the number of medications a person takes, the greater the risk of any kind of adverse reaction from a medication, including falls. Some drugs in particular, such as sedatives, are more likely to increase the risk of falling.
Assess your medication-related falling risks by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do I take medicine that makes me feel light-headed or more tired than usual?
- Do I take medicine to help me sleep or to improve my mood?
- Do I take fluid tablets or blood pressure pills?
- Do I take multiple medications?
- Do I get dizzy when I stand up or walk?
- Do I have problems understanding my medications?
- Do I drink more than two glasses of alcohol per day?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, it is important to discuss them with a health care professional.
- Ask about a medication review of all your prescription and non-prescription medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for information and whether any of your medications will cause unsteadiness or other side effects.
- Speak to your doctor or pharmacist immediately if a medication is causing side effects, such as becoming unsteady, dizzy, confused or drowsy, or if you have a fall.
- Avoid taking medication and alcohol together - alcohol can add to the risk of falling by affecting your alertness, judgement, physical co-ordination and reaction time.
- Always know why you are taking medications and what side effects they have.
- Keep a chart, including instructions on time and dose in a place that is easy to see. Use a dosage dispensing pack.
- If anxiety is a problem, ask your health care professional about learning other ways to improve sleep patterns and avoid using sleeping pills.