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Seniors Taking Psychiatric Drugs Have Increased Risk for Falling, Study Suggests

 Posted on March 12, 2013 in Drugs

A new Dutch study suggests that elderly people who use psychiatric drugs may have an increased risk for falling, according to the Chicago Tribune. Senior citizens who took medications including antidepressants and anti-psychotics were twice as likely to have fallen three or more times in the previous year. Although the study can't prove that the effects of the drugs directly caused more falls, psychiatric drugs often have side effects, including changes in thinking, attention and blood pressure levels, which may put seniors at higher risk for falling.

Elderly people are particularly prone to falls, which can cause hip fractures, severe injuries or even death. In 2009, over 20,000 American seniors died from fall injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors recommend that psychiatric drugs should be avoided for elderly patients who also have other risk factors for falling.

Most of all, the study found a higher rate of falling among elderly people taking antidepressants, antipsychotics and benzodiazepines, including the anxiety drug alprazolam (Xanax) and the insomnia drug temazepam (Restoril). The researchers took into account depression or cognitive impairment among the patients, as well as age and how much they normally walked daily. There are many different factors besides medication that may increase the risk of falling, such as age or osteoporosis. However, when it comes to lowering the risk of falling, changing medication may be the easiest alternative.

If you or a member of your family has suffered side effects from psychiatric drugs, you should contact a capable lawyer who knows how to best represent and protect your interests. Please don't hesitate. Contact a skilled Illinois defective medical devices attorney at your earliest convenience.

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