Don't fall for it

Medicines

Page last updated: 06 May 2011

Some types of medicines can increase your risk of falling. You may also be at greater risk simply because you take four or more different medications. Medicines include those prescribed by your doctor, bought over the counter and herbal remedies.

The types of medicines which can be a problem include those taken for anxiety, depression or difficulty sleeping. This is because of possible side effects such as:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Unsteadiness
  • Dizziness

What you can do:
Tell your doctor if you are concerned or have felt any of the side effects listed above, especially if you are starting a new medicine. Your doctor can then review your medicines to see if changes
are needed. This is important because medicines affect different people in different ways.
  • Keep a list of all your prescription and non-prescription medicines, and always take this to any appointments with doctors.
  • Talk to your doctor if you are taking, or thinking about taking, any alternative, natural or herbal remedies as they may interact badly with your other medicines.
  • To get the most from your medicines, follow the instructions on the label and any other instructions given by your doctor or pharmacist. Never take someone else’s medicine.
  • Alcohol can react with medicines - check the labels or ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Ask your pharmacist about using a special pack such as a ‘dosette box’ or ‘webster pack’ to help you keep track of what medicines you take and when. If you take many different medicines, ask your doctor about a Home Medicines Review at home with your pharmacist, to help sort out all your medicines.
  • The doctor is the only one who should change your medicines.
  • Ask your doctor about ways to deal with sleep problems without using sleeping tablets. Also, you can try avoiding coffee and tea before bed, doing more exercise, taking only short naps during the day and using quiet music at bedtime to improve your sleep.

Where you can find help or advice:
  • Your local pharmacist
  • Your doctor