Could a drug you’re taking cause you to suffer a hip fracture?

Breaking a bone is one of the biggest fears we face as we age — and with good reason.

Fractures are one of the top reasons people over 65 land in nursing homes. So we all want to do everything we can to keep our bones healthy and strong as we age.

But an alarming new study has found that countless seniors are now taking drugs that could put them on the fast track to a life-changing bone break.

And many seniors continue taking those drugs, even after a fracture.

It seems that where drugs and bone breaks concerned, no one is bothering to put two and two together.

And the results are proving dangerous — and even deadly.

Breaking bad

Certainly no one wants the pain, discomfort, and loss of independence that comes with a bone fracture.

So why on Earth does the mainstream keep pumping seniors full of drugs that send their risk of breaking a bone through the roof?

A new study from Dartmouth looked at the data on almost 170,000 Medicare recipients who had suffered a fracture of the hip, shoulder or wrist.

And around three quarters of those patients were taking drugs that can either increase your risk of a fall or significantly weaken your bones (more on that in a minute).

Worse still, many seniors either stayed on these meds — or were given new ones known to increase fracture risk — after they’d broken a bone.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Jeffrey Munson, said he would expect a “significant health event like a fracture” would lead to a change in the drugs that “might have contributed” to it.

Yeah, you would think.

Obviously there’s some kind of disconnect here. Mainstream docs are too quick to dismiss falls and fractures as part of getting older.

But numerous drugs, both prescription and OTC, can make you lightheaded and dizzy, and prone to fall. And certain acid-blocking drugs have been proven to increase your chances of breaking a bone.

And since fractures can have such serious consequences for seniors, it’s outrageous that more doctors don’t ask about the drugs you’re taking.

But wouldn’t it make even more sense to think about this before a fracture happens?

For starters, those prescription and OTC drugs for acid (called proton pump inhibitors) such as Prilosec, Zegerid, Prevacid and Nexium are known to known to increase your risk of sudden, severe bone breaks by a whopping 34 percent! In fact, the prescription versions carry a fracture risk warning, something you won’t find on the OTC meds despite the fact that they’re essentially the same drugs with the same risks.

Then there are the meds that can affect your balance or make you dizzy. These include:

  • Antidepressants Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline),
  • Sleeping pills such as Ambien (zolpidem),
  • Benzo drugs for anxiety, such as Xanax (alprazolam) and Klonopin (clonazepam), and
  • Blood pressure meds, such as Catapres, Kapvay and Intuniv, that can cause you to faint if you stand up too quickly.

The list of drugs that can lead to a serious fall (and possible bone break) is a long one. The authors of this latest study advise anyone who has suffered a fracture to make sure their doctor does a thorough check of all medications and try to eliminate those that can increase the risk of it happening again.

But seriously, why wait?

Sources:
“Study: Seniors with broken bones often continue meds that boost fracture risk” Kathryn Doyle, August 22, 2016, Reuters, theglobeandmail.com