Sleep Medications Increase Risk of Hip Fractures For Nursing Home Residents

slip and fall accident lawyers

Nursing home residents who are on sleep medications may have a much higher risk of suffering hip fractures.

Nursing home residents who are on sleep medications may have a much higher risk of suffering hip fractures.  Those findings came from new research conducted by Harvard Medical School.  The results of the study were published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers examined the medical records of more than 15,000 nursing home residents above the age of 50.  These people had all suffered from documented fractures.

The researchers found upon analysis of these records, that approximately 11% of these nursing home residents had been given a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic medication within 150 days of suffering the hip fracture.  This is a class of medications, that includes popular sleeping drugs like Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata.

The risk of suffering a hip fracture increased as the time gap between the fracture and the use of the medications decreased.  For instance, the researchers found that the nursing home residents, who had the highest risk of suffering a hip fracture, were those who were administered these drugs within the previous 30 days.

The use of non-benzodiazepine hypnotic medication to induce sleep apnea is widespread in nursing homes.  According to a 2004 National Nursing Home Survey approximately 13% of nursing home residents are given a hypnotic drug to induce sleep.  According to nursing homes, the use of these medications is necessary because residents suffer from chronic sleep disorders, like sleep apnea.

While these medications can help a senior citizen to sleep, it can also affect his health in other ways.  For instance, several studies have found that these drugs are also linked to a difficulty in maintaining balance, which can increase a person’s risk of suffering a fall.

As slip and fall lawyers know, falls are extremely dangerous when they involve senior citizens, because they can lead to debilitating and untreatable injuries.  A senior who suffers from a fall may be at a much higher risk of dying if he has suffered a hip fracture.


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