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Which Drugs Do — And Don’t — Increase Fall Risks for the Elderly

Posted Jul 21 2008 10:19am

Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths for people 65 and older, and they’re the most frequent reason for trauma admissions among the elderly,according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Drugs ranging from sleeping pills to painkillers can make people woozy, confused or interfere with balance. To cut the risk of falls, the UNC researchers are focusing on the options among nine groups of medicines. For a look at the best and worst choices by category, see the appendices to the study in theJune issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy.

The basic problem is that patients — and even their physicians — are unlikely to be aware of all the side effects that common medicines can have,Susan Blalock, an associate professor at UNC’s pharmacy school, told us.
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