Long term Care Pharmacy Update: Fall Risk for Antidepressants

At Grane Rx, we’re committed to providing the highest-quality LTC pharmacy services. As part of that commitment, we share an ongoing series of pharmacy updates from our Chief Clinical Officer, designed to keep you in the know on clinical topics related to long term care pharmacy and PACE pharmacy.
As we know, all psychotropic medications are associated with adverse effects, especially in the geriatric population. Although antipsychotics have historically been associated with the most significant adverse effects, including an increased risk for falls, recent data suggests that antidepressants may be a more significant contributing factor to falls in the geriatric population.
Antidepressant medications have a profound effect on the body’s neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, etc.) that can cause alterations in sleeping patterns, postural reflexes, reaction times, orthostatic hypotension, cardiac rhythm, movement disorders and others. While the antidepressant may not be the direct cause of falling, it may be the underlying cause. For example, antidepressants can affect a resident’s sleeping pattern causing an increase in daytime drowsiness thus increasing the probability of a fall.

What Long term Care Pharmacy Providers Can Do about Fall Risks associated with Antidepressants

While evaluating the risk for falls and establishing fall precautions for residents, it’s important to take into consideration all psychotropic medications, including antidepressants. If there are residents who are predisposed to falls, careful attention should be given if antidepressant therapy is initiated or when doses are altered. Overall, all medications have benefits and risks that need to be evaluated on a resident-by-resident basis. While this new data is not likely to change prescribing habits or the management of depression, this information can help you better manage the adverse effects potentially associated with antidepressants.

List of Common Antidepressants

List of commonly used antidepressants in long term care pharmacy.]]>

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