Common sleep drug increases risk of falls

It's said that in the hospital, it's hard to find rest. Often, patients are prescribed Ambien, a common sleep aid, in order to rest through the night. However, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, the drug may also be to blame for an increased risk of falls. The Mayo Clinic's sleep specialists found that patients prescribed Ambien were four times as likely to suffer a fall in the hospital as those who were not taking the drug.

Patient falls are a serious hazard in hospitals and nursing homes, as additional injuries can be sustained that may have long-lasting or permanent effects. Among the aged, sustaining a broken hip can cause a downward spiral of health concerns due to limited mobility. Broken wrists, severe bruising and muscle sprains and strains can also result from falls. In light of this new data, the Mayo clinic is moving away from this drug and looking into other treatments to help patients to sleep soundly.

There may be legal options open to families of patients and individuals who are injured in the hospital as a result of their medical treatments. These injuries can be very serious, and the associated medical bills can easily begin to build up. If it is found that the drug is directly related to increased fall risk, there may be negligence claims to be made when the drug is prescribed to inpatients.

Medical malpractice is not only connected to surgical errors or other commonly-considered cases. Families in need of legal advice in connection with medical treatments of any kind can benefit greatly from consulting an experienced medical malpractice attorney,

Source: Journal of Hospital Medicine, "Inpatient sleeping drug quadrupled fall risk," Nov. 19, 2012

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