Medications and falls – reducing risk

Some medicines or combinations of medicines may increase the risk of falls.

Follow these tips to reduce your risk of a medication-related fall:

1. Get your medicines reviewed regularly

Keep an up-to-date list of medicines and have these checked by your doctor or pharmacist regularly. A complete medicine list should also be taken to all medical appointments and hospital visits. Learn more about medicines and falls risk.

2. Worried? Talk to your doctor or pharmacist

If you are worried about your risk of falls, do not stop taking your medicine suddenly. Rather, discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist. Sometimes a more suitable alternative can be found. Some medicines need to be stopped gradually, as sudden withdrawal can make the effects worse.

3. Be careful when starting a new medicine

When starting a new medicine, including any medicines you buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines, ask your pharmacist about common side effects and what you can do to lessen them.

4. Get up or stand up slowly

Some side effects such as dizziness are quite common when you first start taking a medicine and ease with time. Be careful when you first start a medicine until you know how the medicine affects you. For example, get up slowly out of bed or stand up slowly; take a few minutes to sit on your bed or on a chair first. The dizziness should go away after a while. If the dizziness is severe or ongoing, tell your doctor. Read more about things you can do to keep you from losing your balance or falling over

5. Avoid alcohol

It is best to avoid drinking alcohol when you are taking some medicines. Combining alcohol with some medicines can make you more sleepy, drowsy or dizzy.

6. Exercise regularly and remove hazards at home

Other tips to reduce falls include exercising regularly to improve muscle strength and removing hazards at home. Read more about falls prevention