Three types of medication that increase the risk of falls

Posted on: 8/12/2021

If you or your loved one has suffered a fall in the past, it could be due to particular medications that you are taking.

After a fall, the likelihood of falling again also increases, so it’s worth a discussion with your GP if you are taking any of the medications listed below. They may be able to prescribe alternatives that won’t increase your risk of falling again.

Common types of medication that increase the risk of falls

There are three types of medication that are often linked to an increase in the risk of falling. This includes medications that:

  1. Lower blood sugar. Similarly, low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) can also lead to dizziness, light headedness and sometimes even fainting.
  2. Affect blood pressure. Specifically, these are medications that cause a drop in blood pressure, which can lead to dizziness, light headedness and therefore increases the risk of falling over.
  3. Affect the brain. Medication that affects brain function can often cause drowsiness or have sedative effects, which increase the risk of falling.

Below, we’ve listed out the names of some of the most common medications prescribed that fall under these categories.

Medications that lower blood sugar

  • Diabetes-related medications – oral an injectable medications that are taken to lower blood sugar can increase the risk of falls. For a full list, click here

Medications that affect blood pressure

Medications that affect the brain

  • Antidepressants – all types of antidepressants have been linked to an increase in the risk of falls.
  • Antipsychotics, used to treat conditions that include symptoms of psychosis, such as olanzapine, aripiprazole, risperidone and quetiapine.
  • Anti-anxiety medication, which include benzodiazepines such as diazepam and lorazepam, alprazolam and temazepam.
  • Anticholinergics, which are used to treat a number of conditions including allergies, itching, sleep problems, vertigo/nausea/motion sickness, overactive bladder, as well as muscle relaxants. For a full list of anticholinergic medications, click here
  • Mood stabilising medication/anticonvulsants, used to stabilise mood, treat seizures, and even treat certain types of nerve pain. These include valproic acid and gabapentin.
  • Opioids, mainly used to treat pain, such as codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, and methadone.
  • Sedatives, often used to treat insomnia or other sleep problems, such as zolpidem, zaleplon, and eszopiclone.

Often, if someone is taking multiple medications, this can also further increase the risk of falls. The most important thing is speaking to your GP to discuss your options to help reduce the risk of falls.

You might also like to have a read of an article we’ve written on 9 common conditions that increase the risk of falls – click here to read it.