It’s not uncommon for medications to come with a laundry list of unwanted effects. And if you’re on several medications, you could be experiencing a number of these effects.
One potential effect of a slew of medications is impaired balance. For many reasons, certain medications may make it harder to stay sure-footed and increase the risk of a fall. Blood pressure medications, for example, may cause blood pressure to get too low when you stand up from a seated or lying position.
Falling, particularly if you’re a little older, can have devastating consequences. The risk for bone breaks increases with age, and it has the potential to have a significant impact on quality of life or worse.
Medications that suppress the nervous system are the most likely to contribute to a fall. They reduce alertness and cause slower reactions and movements. Here is a list of medications that can increase the risk of falling:
- Anti-anxiety drugs like diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan).
- Diphenhyramine (Benadryl), an older type of antihistamine. It is also found in sleep aids, and combined with nighttime pain medications like Tylenol PM, Motrin PM, Advil PM, and Aleve PM.
- Prescription bladder medications like oxybutynin (Ditopran) and toterodine (Detrol).
- Trycyclic antidepressants are often prescribed to treat nerve pain. Amitriptyline (Elavil) is a common one.
- Prescription sleep drugs, perhaps unsurprisingly, can also increase the risk of falls. They include zolpidem (Ambein), zalepon (Sonata), and eszopiclone (Lunesta).
- Narcotics (opioids) like codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (Percodan, Percocet), hydromorphne (Dilaudid), and fentanyl (Duragesic).
If you take any of these medications, exercise caution when taking them. It could also be worthwhile to talk to your doctor about alternatives, or dosing, to reduce the risk of a harmful fall potentially.