There is a study done by the University of Washington which reports that over-the-counter drugs for sleep, cough, cold, and allergy, but also medicines for the treatment of an overactive bladder and depression may increase the risk of dementia in older adults.
Before we tell you more about the study let’s find out…
How These Drugs Cause Dementia?
One brain chemical called acetylcholine is responsible for proper memory and cognitive function of our brain. What it does is helping with the transmission of a nerve impulse from point A to point B.
What happens when we don’t have enough acetylcholine in our brain? Well, for example, the Alzheimer’s disease that happens when the enzyme that produces acetylcholine is not working properly and the levels of acetylcholine are low.
In a nutshell, low acetylcholine levels = poor brain function.
This poor brain function includes dementia.
What The Study Shows?
Let’s start from the beginning.
First, the researchers examined the medical records from 3,434 participants 65 years or older with no dementia at study entry.
Second, the initial recruitment of these people was happening from 1994 through 1996 and from 2000 through 2003.
Third, the data through September 30, 2012, was also included in the study.
Fourth, to determine the exposure to anticholinergic drugs they used computerized pharmacy records.
Fifth, the cumulative exposure was added during the whole 10-year period.
Sixth, they discovered that near 20% of the population was using anticholinergic drugs.
- 797 participants (23.2%) developed dementia
- 637/797 (80%) developed Alzheimer’s disease.
- If you take the minimum daily effective dose of one of the anticholinergic agents every day for 3 years, you face the highest risk of dementia.
That is why chronic usage of these drugs should be avoided.
And the question now is….
Which Drugs Cause Dementia?
Here is the list:
- Nytol Sominex;
- Triaminic Allergy (Basically drugs that contain Diphenhydramine);
- Drugs containing chlorpheniramine (Aller-Chlor); oxybutynin (Ditropan) and tolterodine (Detrol) for overactive bladder;
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as doxepin or amitriptyline;
- Sedative hypnotic drugs (sleeping pills);
The sad thing is that these drugs (both prescription and over-the-counter) are used at an alarming rate by the elderly population.
This means that they are facing a huge risk of dementia.
We should all avoid these drugs or taking them on a regular basis.
Based on all of this, we should also consider more natural approaches and treatments that can solve our key problems yet leave the brain alone. There are examples of a natural compound, enzymatically modified isoquercitrin (EMIQ) that have anti-allergy effects and also blocks the formation of beta-amyloid (which is a protein known as a brain damage in the Alzheimer’s disease)