A recent study shows that patients living in nursing homes are more likely to fall down after changes are made to their dosage when taking Effexor. In fact, the study shows that they are 5 times more likely to fall down within two days.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, suggested that nursing home staff should be more vigilant in keeping an eye on patients that have just been given a dosage change of Effexor. This research was conducted by a Harvard Medical School affiliate. So far, experts believe that the falls could be in relation to acute cognitive or motor effects that have been linked with the drugs.

The lead author of the study, Sarah D. Berry, M.D., conducted the study by observing 1,181 residents of nursing homes in the Boston area who fell. She took that information and compared how often it happened to the frequency of changes made in the dosages of patients taking antidepressants. Berry referred to that time period as a “hazard” period (which was between 1-7 days before a fall). She also did the same thing during a more controlled time period of 8-14 days. What Berry learned was that the chances of patients falling down were a great deal higher within two days of the Effexor dosage change.

Some of Berry’s estimates even suggested that more than a third of the united States’ 1.6 million nursing home residents are actually taking SSRI medications like Effexor, so the rate of injuries is significantly high enough for staff members to pay heed.

That is likely why Berry explains that “nursing home staff should keep a watchful eye on residents in the days following a non-SSRI antidepressant change to prevent falls and clinicians should avoid making changes on weekends or during times when unfamiliar staff is present.”