Injuries from falls are a common and serious problem for older people, with 30% of people over 65 years, and 50% of those over 80 falling at least once a year. Dealing with the consequences of falls costs the NHS a whopping £2.3 billion per year.
Those at particularly high risk of falling include people:
• With two or more risk factors (muscle weakness, poor balance, visual deficit, concentration problems, arthritis)
• taking more than three medicines
• affected by orthostatic hypotension – a sharp fall in blood pressure when moving to a standing position, often caused by medication, causing dizziness.
Falls can be caused by almost any drug that acts on the brain or the circulation, so if you, or an elderly relative you care for, are concerned ask your pharmacist if you can have a medicines use review. This is an NHS service your pharmacy offers which will look at what the medicine is for, how you are taking it, whether it is effective, and whether there are any side-effects.
If it is appropriate to reduce the number of medicines you are taking, or change the dosage your pharmacist will advise you to see your GP.