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High-risk means that a medicine can cause serious health problems or accidents. High-risk doesn't always mean "do not use." It can mean "use with care" when a medicine is more likely to help you than harm you.
If you take a medicine that may make you feel confused, drowsy, or dizzy, pay attention to how it affects your balance and how it makes you feel. Take extra care to prevent a fall. A fall can lead to serious problems that can change your ability to function and quality of life.
Examples of high-risk medicines include:
Be prepared for side effects
As you age, your body changes. When you take a medicine, you may get a stronger effect now than when you were younger. For example, you may get more dizzy or drowsy. And you may be more likely to have dangerous side effects when you take more than one medicine.
To help avoid serious side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your medicines.
Learn to move wisely
Make changes to stay independent at home
Take care of yourself
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor now or seek medical care right away if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have fallen, even if you aren't hurt.
Don't feel embarrassed to let your doctor know that you have fallen. Your doctor may be able to adjust your medicine or give other advice so you can prevent more falls.
Other Works ConsultedAmerican Geriatrics Society 2015 Beers Criteria Update Expert Panel (2015). American Geriatrics Society 2015 updated Beers Criteria for potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 63(4): 2227–2246. DOI: 10.1111/jgs.13702. Accessed March 31, 2016. Hartikainen S, et al. (2007). Medication as a risk factor for falls: Critical systematic review. Journal of Gerontology, 62(10): 1172–1181.
Adaptation Date: 5/6/2021
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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