In the song “Falling,” Harry Styles sings, "I'm falling again, I'm falling again, I'm falling. What if I'm down? What if I'm out? ... I'm falling again, I'm falling again, I'm falling."
That’s heartbreaking. But if you're at risk of falling because of medications you're taking, it's nothing short of a potential bone break — or worse.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 36 million falls are reported among older adults annually. And falls account for 95% of the 300,000 older people hospitalized for a hip fracture every year.
While many falls are from weakened leg and core strength, refusal to use a cane or a walker when outside, poor eyesight, tripping hazards in the home, and lack of grab bars in the bath, many result from a medication or a combination of medications. The most common culprits are:
• Antihypertensives, if they lower your blood pressure too much
• Antianxiety and sleep-inducing hypnotic drugs such as diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan)
• Benadryl (diphenhydramine), which is an older antihistamine
• Prescription medications for overactive bladder
• Tricyclic antidepressants, taken for mood and chronic nerve pain
• Prescription sleep drugs
• Narcotics (opioids), including codeine and hydrocodone
If you feel unsteady on your feet or think your medications are a problem, ask your doctor about switching or stopping the medications, or lowering the dose.
To stay safe, take a "learn-to-fall" class, so that if you do fall, you won't injure yourself. You can also go to CDC.gov and search "Check for Safety."