Research links widely-used drugs to a nearly 50% higher risk of dementia

Research conducted recently found some common drugs could raise the likelihood of dementia or dementia-like symptoms by nearly fifty percent. According to the research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, discovered the increase odds of dementia in people 55 and older who take anticholinergic medications.

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Anticholinergics are used to treat your wide range of conditions, including depression, indicators of Parkinson’s disease, bladder control and insomnia. An estimated one in four mature workers take anticholinergic drugs. Some antihistamines like Benadryl are also anticholinergics, but weren’t associated with dementia in this study.

“This can be a very broad class of medications,” CBS News’ Dr. Tara Narula told “CBS Early today.” “A large amount of Americans use these drugs whether prescription or over-the-counter beginning from things such as antihistamines or anti-allergy medicines, sleep aids, bladder control medication, Parkinson’s drugs, COPD meds, I mean the list goes on and on.”
The research, which Narula cautioned is basically a correlational and not a cause-and-effect study, checked out more than 200,000 individuals in Britain who took a strong anticholinergic drug for 3 many years found a 49% increased likelihood of dementia.

“All of these researchers have said, look, some of these drugs that we’re giving – such as the anti-depressants and the sleep aids – we’re giving to people who may have had dementia all along because a few of these things such as depression and lack of sleep are early signs of dementia,” she said.
It is important for pharmacists, doctors and patients all be informed regarding this and also to remember that the elderly are particularly susceptible for a range of reasons including a more permeable blood-brain barrier and because they are often on multiple medications, meaning there could be a cumulative effect. Because of those risks, Narula stated that patients with dementia should not be on these medications by any means.
Past studies have proven that whenever patients turn off anticholinergics the symptoms subside, but researchers are calling for a randomized control trial – considered the gold standard in research – so they can fully understand whether there is a real cause and effect link.

“At every [doctor] visit you ought to be going over all of your medications and saying, must i be traveling on this? Could it be contributing on me, and what are the risks and benefits and are there alternative agents that may be good for me and you should not assume whether it’s over-the-counter that it’s safe.”


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