NEW YORK – All it takes is a wet floor, a crack in the sidewalk or an uneven carpet to fall, which can lead to serious injuries (just ask The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon). It is a common, but sometimes overlooked, cause of injury.
Statistics show that about one-third of all seniors who live at home will fall at least once each year. Each fall can cause broken bones, muscle sprains and potential brain injuries. Now, researchers are finding that popular over-the-counter medicines and prescriptions could increase a person’s risk of falling as well.
Scientists from Trinity College in Ireland studied over 2,000 older adults for two years. Researchers discovered that people who took anticholinergic medicines such as Alprazolam, Amantadine, Cetirizine, and Codeine were 2.5 times more likely to have a serious fall.
Manhattan slip and fall attorneys at Cellino & Barnes said the study should be a reminder for consumers to understand the medications they are taking.
“Thousands of people take these drugs every day in Manhattan,” slip and fall lawyer Steve Barnes said. “It’s important to read about the side effects and make sure the drugs don’t interfere with any other medications you may be taking.”
Anticholinergic drugs most often come with side effects such as blurred vision and drowsiness.
The drugs are used to treat a cohort of symptoms and conditions including depression, psychosis and, perhaps most commonly, allergies. It is believed that seniors are most susceptible to a fall while using these medications because of the way it interacts with other medications.
“Taking multiple medications at a time can amplify the side effects, especially when mixing over-the-counter drugs with prescription drugs,” Barnes said.
The side effects of blurred vision, drowsiness and dizziness can come on stronger than expected, resulting in a fall.
Doctors say if an individual does fall, it’s important to try to get up too quickly because it can result in loss of consciousness or light-headedness. If you’re hurt, have someone call 911. If no one is nearby, slowly crawl to a telephone and dial 911.
Many falls can result in serious and costly injuries but they are not always your fault. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, immediately seek medical attention. Afterwards, contact an attorney who can evaluate your case without charge.