In Past Two Decades, Dramatic Rise in Elderly Taking Drugs That Can Lead to Falls

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From The Washington Post: “In 2017, an estimated 94 percent of older adults received a prescription for a drug that increased their risk of falling, a startling increase from 57 percent in 1999, according to the research. The study also found that the rate of death caused by falls in older adults more than doubled during the same time period.

. . . Between 1999 and 2017, more than 7.8 billion fall-risk-increasing drug orders were filled by older adults in the United States, the majority for antihypertensives, which treat high blood pressure, the study says. The use of antidepressants also rose sharply, however, from 12 million prescriptions in 1999 to more than 52 million in 2017, according to the study.

. . . Every year, millions of Americans 65 and older — 1 out of 4 — suffer falls, which are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in this age group, according to the CDC. Even a nonfatal fall can be serious, especially if it results in a fracture or head injury. Three million older Americans are treated in emergency rooms annually after falling, and 800,000 are hospitalized, the CDC says.

‘If you fall and break a hip, the statistic of your making it out of the hospital are not so good,’ Shaver says.

. . . Experts aren’t suggesting that physicians stop prescribing or — in the case of OTC products — stop recommending these drugs.”

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7 COMMENTS

  1. My dad used to fall quite often, and he was taking antihypertensives. But they blamed it on “dementia.”

    My Dad totally trusted his doctors. I don’t know if I will ever have that level of trust in doctors, or even if anyone ever should.

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    • The doctors almost killed my dad when he was 40. He was on blood thinners from a recent heart attack, and they gave him something that was totally contraindicated with blood thinners, with a warning it might kill the patient. He had sudden bruising from barely touching his arm. He looked it up in the PDR and found out what was happening. If he had trusted them, a minor accident, a fall, a bump on the head could have killed him!

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  2. I think the title should read:

    Dramatic rise in physicians prescribing drugs…..

    “taking drugs”, sounds like people just voluntarily consume them, like they do water.

    Especially in nursing homes there is no such thing as “voluntary”, which has to be addressed. Is it legal to give people chemicals when they do not have the capacity to decide? Or the protection of family?

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  3. here in Canada Ativan given/forced on patients.
    quote from article “”That was my first question when I got to the hot zone,” she said. “Where is the oxygen?”

    Instead, she said, nurses were given a protocol to follow, which involved administering morphine and lorazepam — commonly known as Ativan — to calm the patient down.
    Title “No oxygen or running water in hot zone at worst-hit long-term care home in Quebec, inquest hears”
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/chsld-sainte-dorothee-coroners-inquest-1.6068266

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    • Fifty percent of all opiate (including heroin) overdose deaths involve benzos being part of the cocktail that ends up killing people. In fact, I would argue that benzos are THE MOST DECISIVE killing agent in the cocktail. That is because most opiate addicts know how to use their opiates, INCLUDING FENTYNYL but they often forget exactly how many Xanax or Ativan pills they had earlier in the day.

      Benzos are highly desirable drugs for people addicted to opiates because benzos magnify the effect of the opiates, but sadly this can be deadly because it can totally shut down breathing and the heart.

      Yes, I know that they have to sedate someone who goes on a respirator, but this particular cocktail of drugs probably killed many people before the Covid had a chance to complete its deadly effects.

      Richard

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      • I am sure the promotors of the various Benzos have a strong interest in making sure that Heroin or other opioids get all the blame. I’m sure “opioid epidemic” was agreed upon as the name for the problem by people in high places of power.

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