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Photo: Tom Weller/picture alliance via Getty Images

The past decades have seen an increase in older Americans taking prescription drugs that dramatically increase the likelihood of a dangerous fall, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: A recent study found that 7.8 billion fall-risk-increasing drug orders were filled by older adults between 1999 and 2017. It also found the rate of death by falling doubled during that period.

  • A quarter of American adults over 65 suffer from falls annually, per the CDC.
  • Women were more likely to be prescribed medication that increased the likelihood of a fall, per the Post.

What they're saying: The study's lead author, Amy Shaver, told the Post, "These drugs are doing what they are supposed to be doing, but also are working off target."

  • “There are valid reasons to prescribe them. But they can be problematic."

Be smart: “[P]atients should ask about side effects,” Shaver added, per the Post.

  • “They should make sure all their doctors know all the drugs they are on, which often is not the case, particularly if they take more than one. They may get one drug from a specialist and another from their primary care physician, and they end up with medications that have interactions — but their providers don’t know about them.”

Go deeper

YouTube suspends Sen. Johnson for violating medical misinformation policy

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) speaking during a press conference on June 10. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

YouTube has temporarily suspended Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) for violating its policy on medical misinformation after he posted a video promoting hydroxychloroquine and other drugs for treating COVID-19.

Why it matters: Some Republicans, most prominently former President Trump, have promoted the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a method to fight the coronavirus, even though clinical trials have shown it does not prevent people from getting COVID-19 and does not work as a treatment for the illness.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Congress passes $2.1B Capitol security funding bill

U.S. Capitol police officers testify during a House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot on July 27. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via Xinhua

A $2.1 billion Capitol security funding bill is heading to President Biden for his signature after the House and Senate passed the legislation on Thursday.

Why it matters: The legislation provides funding for the Capitol Police, the National Guard and other agencies to cover the costs incurred during the Jan. 6 riot.

Biden details new vaccination initiatives as COVID cases surge

Joe Biden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden detailed several new initiatives on Thursday to get more Americans vaccinated and slow the spread of the Delta variant.

Why it matters: The plan outlines aggressive next steps from the federal government as COVID-19 cases surge across the country due to the contagious Delta variant and as demand for vaccines has tapered off.