elderly woman fallen from taking Antidepressants

People with Alzheimer’s disease who use antidepressant medication face twice the risk of experiencing a hip fracture. According to a recent study done by the University of Eastern Finland and published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, the increased risk is at its highest at the beginning of a patient’s antidepressant use and remained elevated even after four years. The study also found that the increased risk is linked to most of the frequently prescribed and used antidepressant classes including mirtazapine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) drugs, and selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) drugs. Many of these drugs are already being brought into antidepressant lawsuits, which will continue to grow as more research is completed and reported.

Are There Fall Risks for Alzheimer Patients?

Alzheimer Patient

Based on a 2013 estimate, nationwide about 5 million people aged 65 years or older are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. This estimate is expected to increase considerably in the coming decades. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the country. While deaths due to other diseases such as cancer or heart disease has declined over the recent years, fatalities involving patients with Alzheimer’s disease are rising. The cause of the disease has not yet been established and there is currently no cure for it.

Alzheimer’s patients are particularly prone to falling, especially with the onset of the disease. The medical journal Age and Ageing reported that a patient’s risk factor for a potential hip fracture (due to a fall) is three times greater than those in the same age group who were not affected by Alzheimer’s. The factors that contribute to this fall risk include issues with spatial perception, poor vision, problems with gait and balance, and the use of medication such as tranquilizers, sedatives or antidepressants.

Antidepressants Can Heighten Fall Risk in the Elderly

The CDC offers some tips for fall prevention. These include:

  • Consulting your doctor. Your healthcare provider can review your medications and better assess your risk for falling.
  • Visiting your eye doctor. Getting your vision checked periodically will ensure problems such as those with distance perception are corrected.
  • Strength and balance exercises. Regular exercises will strengthen your lower body and improve your balance.
  • Removing hazards in your living space. Remove any objects that may lead to a slip-and-fall or trip-and fall accident. Install supports such as railings and grab bars where necessary. Use higher wattage light bulbs to increase the lighting.

What Are Some Antidepressant Drug Risks?

elderly man suffering from depressionAlzheimer’s patients often tend to suffer from depression. The effects are more pronounced in people who are in the initial and middle stages of the disease. About 40 percent of Alzheimer’s patients experience significant depression. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease and depression are typically treated with antidepressant medication of the class called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Some of the SSRIs that are commonly prescribed include Citalopram (Celexa), Fluvoxamine (Luvox), Paroxetine (Paxil), Sertraline (Zoloft), Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Escitalopram (Lexapro).

Some of the physical side effects of antidepressant drugs are joint pain, nausea, headache, weight gain, birth defects, sexual dysfunction, or heart problems. Use of the drug may also cause hallucinations, mania or psychosis, anxiety, withdrawal symptoms, suicide risks etc.

Contact an Antidepressant Lawyer Today

Antidepressant LawyerIf you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries after taking an antidepressant, you may have an antidepressant lawsuit. You should talk to an antidepressant lawyer about your injuries and discuss your legal options. Our law firm is currently working with some of the more experienced attorneys in the country who handle these types of cases, and charge no legal fees until you receive a settlement or award. Call our law firm toll-free at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form for a free legal consultation.