How to Manage Your Medication

Know your medication so side effects don’t increase your risk of falling

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This page was last updated on 9 August 2022

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For Families and Individuals Seeking Home Care Services

    Medication side effects can put you more at risk of falling. Knowing all the possible side effects of your medication and how to manage side effects is important for your quality of life and reducing your risk of having a fall.

    Know What Your Medication Does

    When Taking Medication Your GP Should Explain to You:
    • Side effects the medication can cause
    • How it will affect any current medications you are taking
    • When you should take the medication and how often
    • What you should and shouldn’t take them with – For example, if you should take them after eating a meal or avoid taking them with alcohol

    Your medication should come with instructions, it is important to read them carefully and keep the instructions in case you ever need to read them. Don’t be afraid to ask your GP any question about your medication, if it’s on your mind you should always ask.

    Knowing everything about your medication will mean you know how to take it safely and you are aware of what could make your medication unsafe. This is especially important for people who are prone to accidents such as falling, as many medications can cause side effects that can decrease balance, stability and reduce alertness.

    Medications That Often Cause Side Effects Linked to Falls:
    • Sedatives and sleeping tablets
    • Blood pressure-lowering medication
    • Anti-depressants
    • Anti-anxiety medication
    • Medication for epilepsy
    • Medications that treat an overactive bladder
    Side Effects Linked to Falls Are:
    • Drowsiness
    • Dizziness and lightheadedness
    • Blurred vision
    • Reduced alertness
    • Reduced attention
    • Low blood sugar
    • Slow reflexes and reactions

    How to Be Organised With Your Medication

    It can be hard to remember to take your medication at the right time every day, especially when you take multiple medications. Being organised with your medication means you will take it safely and know when you are most at risk of falling due to its effects.

    Be aware of which medication causes you to feel symptoms that put you at risk of falling and how long for. If you know this then you can plan your day around your medication side effects.

    Tips for Organising Your Medication Includes:
    • Use a pillbox organiser
    • Use a medication phone app
    • Make a list of all your medications

    It is advised to check your medication labels and information frequently to make sure you are taking it correctly.

    What Can Affect Your Medication

    It is very important to know what can affect your medication because in some cases medication reactions can make you unwell, unsteady on your feet or even be fatal.

    Common things that can affect medication are:

    • Alcohol
    • Certain foods
    • Other medications
    • Supplements