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Preventing Falls in Older Adults Who Take High-Risk Medicines

Table of Contents

Topic Overview

What does "high-risk" mean?

High-risk means that a medicine can cause serious health problems or accidents. High-risk doesn't always mean "do not use." It can mean "use with care" when a medicine is more likely to help you than harm you.

If you take a medicine that may make you feel confused, drowsy, or dizzy, pay attention to how it affects your balance and how it makes you feel. Take extra care to prevent a fall. A fall can lead to serious problems that can change your quality of life.

Examples of high-risk medicines include:

How can you prevent falls when you take high-risk medicine?

Be prepared for side effects

As you age, your body changes. When you take a medicine, you may get a stronger effect now than when you were younger. For example, you may get more dizzy or drowsy. And you may be more likely to have dangerous side effects when you take more than one medicine.

To help avoid serious side effects, talk to your doctor and pharmacist about your medicines.

Learn to move wisely

Make changes to stay safe at home

Take care of yourself

When should you call your doctor?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

Call your doctor now or seek medical care right away if:

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have fallen, even if you aren't hurt.

Don't feel embarrassed to let your doctor know that you have fallen. Your doctor may be able to adjust your medicine or give other advice so you can prevent more falls.


Other Works Consulted

Credits for Preventing Falls in Older Adults Who Take High-Risk Medicines

Current as of: December 7, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
Elizabeth A. Phelan MD, MS - Geriatric Medicine

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