Falls represent the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in older adults. It has been estimated that around 300,000 hip fractures occur each year with head injuries being a common problem too. More than often, they are a result of falling.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina have published a lengthy list of prescription drugs that increase the risk of falling among older patients. It is usually drugs that depress the central nervous system, making the patients less alert, slower to react and therefore more prone to falling. At the highest risk of falling are those adults who take four or more medications at a time.

The medications on the list cover a wide range of common prescription seizure medications, painkillers and popular antidepressants like Celexa, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Prozac and many others.

However, not only prescription drugs carry a risk of falling. Many over-the-counter medications add to the falling incidence. Anything that causes drowsiness, puts you at increased risk of falling. Over-the-counter allergy medications, sleeping aids as well as cold and cough remedies can have the same effects as prescription pills.

If your medications are listed as "risky", you should not just stop taking them since many drugs cause numerous side effects when abruptly stopped. Instead, talk to your doctors about possible alternatives. Health care providers should in return look for and prescribe medications that have less of a sedating effect to decrease the chances of falling especially in the older adults.