What are Some Key Drugs Associated with Falls?
Skin Tear Risk Factors

Skin tears are traumatic wounds that occur when fragile skin experiences blunt force, friction, and shearing. One of the main skin tear risk factors for people over the age of 65 is falls. The risk of falling and fall-related problems increases as we age. Falls in the elderly can generally be associated with balance problems, muscle weakness, vision loss, or long-term health conditions such as low blood pressure that can lead to dizziness.

The more we age, the more likely we are to take medications to manage any health problems we may develop. Many of the drugs prescribed to treat common issues, including insomnia and heart disease, can have certain side effects that increase the risk of falls.

What are some key drugs associated with falls? Skin tear risk factors
Some drugs carry a range of possible side effects such as feeling faint or nausea, which can lead to falls. Drugs that play a role in suppressing the central nervous system are the most likely to contribute to falls, because they slow down reactions and reflexes, as well as reduce alertness.

A fall can result in a broken or fractured bone, but can also be responsible for wounds or the start of more serious health problems that can turn into a long-term disability.
Skin tears are largely preventable if the right precautions are taken. One of these precautions is being aware of the potential side effects of drugs and making lifestyle changes if deemed necessary.

Benzodiazepines
This class of medication is frequently prescribed to aid sleep or anxiety. Commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include diazepam, temazepam, and lorazepam. Benzodiazepines have a sedative effect, which can significantly increase the risk of injuries and falls.
Antiepileptics
These drugs are used in the treatment of epilepsy. Antiepileptics can cause dizziness and drowsiness. Some antiepileptic medications are known to induce temporary blurred vision.
Antihistamines
Antihistamines are used to relieve the symptoms of allergies, including conjunctivitis and insect bites. These drugs are sometimes used as a short-term treatment for insomnia. Some strong antihistamines can have a sedative effect and cause psychomotor impairment.
Diuretics
This class of drugs is used in the treatment of high blood pressure and to release sodium from the kidneys into the urine. Diuretics can cause dizziness and nocturia, which can increase the risk of falls.
Opiate analgesics
This class of drugs is mainly prescribed for the treatment of pain. Some of the most frequently prescribed and administered opiates are codeine and morphine. Opiates have a sedative effect and can cause drowsiness or induce sleep.
Antipsychotics
This class of drugs is used to treat mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, severe anxiety, and mania. Possible side effects include drowsiness, agitation, and blurred vision, which can lead to falls.
Antidepressants
Antidepressants are prescribed to treat depression and anxiety. Some tricyclic antidepressants can cause drowsiness.
Antiarrhythmics
These drugs are used to treat an irregular heart rhythm. Antiarrhythmics can cause drowsiness, which can increase the chances of injuries and falls. Some antiarrhythmics, including Flecainide, carry a high risk of drug interactions, which can cause extreme dizziness and nausea.
Dopaminergic drugs
These drugs are prescribed to treat Parkinson’s disease. These drugs can cause sudden excessive daytime sleepiness and confusion.
Antimuscarinic drugs
These drugs are used to treat urinary incontinence. Some antimuscarinic drugs such as Oxybutynin can lead to drowsiness and confusion, particularly in those with any pre-existing cognitive impairment.
References:
  1. LeBlanc, Kimberly, Baranoski, Sharon, Christensen, Dawn, Langemo, Diane, Sammon, Mary Ann, Edwards, Karen, Holloway, Samantha, Gloeckner, Mary, Williams, Ann, Sibbald, R. Gary, Regan, Mary; Advances in Skin and Wound Care.

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