Sleeping Pills Could Increase Senior Fall Risk


Sleeping Pills Could Increase Senior Fall Risk

It's important for senior care providers to be familiar with all the medications their patients are taking. Even if they're taking common prescriptions, the way they interact could have a negative impact on seniors' health. In fact, a recent study from the Mayo Clinic found that a widely used drug could dramatically increase older adults' risks of suffering falls.

The drug in question, Ambien, is commonly prescribed to help patients sleep better. However, researchers found that seniors who were administered the drug experienced a fourfold increase in the risk of falling, and some experts are considering phasing out its use.

"Our hospitals have an overall fall rate of about 2.5 per 1,000 patient days, which is lower than many national benchmarks," Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, Mayo's chief patient safety officer, said in a press release. "Now, we calculate that for every 55 patients who received [Ambien], there was one additional fall that may have been avoided by not administering the drug."

The threat posed by falls is very serious. Around one-third of adults 65 and older experience a fall each year, and they are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in seniors. 

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