If you think taking pills will solve your problems, think twice. Hundreds of Common Pills now Linked to Dimentia.
Some commonly used anticholinergic drug brands include Benadryl, Tylenol PM, Advil PM, Dimetapp, Dramamine, Paxil, Unisom, the opioid pain medication Demerol, and the bladder drug Vesicare.
Taking over-the-counter medications for colds, flu and allergies may seem harmless, but a new study warns that certain drugs are linked to an increased risk of dementia.
The class of medications, called anticholinergics, are sold over-the-counter and by prescription for many chronic conditions. They include sleep aids, hay fever pills, and flu symptom relievers.
Anticholinergics work by blocking a specific neurotransmitter in the brain and body, said Dr. Alexandra Sowa, an internist and clinical instructor at Weill Cornell Medical College.
“This class of drugs covers many things — everything that treats insomnia, depression to COPD and bladder problems. It is a very common medication, so it’s in many people’s medicine cabinets,” Sowa told CBS News.
Anticholinergics include antihistamines, anti-psychotics, anti-vertigo drugs, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal drugs, and muscle relaxants, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“What they found was that people who took this medication had higher rates of cognitive impairment,” Sowa said.
“We know based on previous studies that as little use as 60 days, or even 90 days non-consecutively over the course of a lifetime, can be associated with these risks. It’s not every night for 30 years, it’s sometimes or sporadically,” she said.
A Harvard Study Discovered 54% Higher Risk in Men Taking Anticholinergic drugs Linked To Dimentia
A team led by Shelley Gray, a pharmacist at the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy, tracked nearly 3,500 men and women ages 65 and older who took part in Adult Changes in Thought (ACT), a long-term study conducted by the University of Washington and Group Health, a Seattle healthcare system. They used Group Health’s pharmacy records to determine all the drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, that each participant took the 10 years before starting the study. Participants’ health was tracked for an average of seven years. During that time, 800 of the volunteers developed dementia. When the researchers examined the use of anticholinergic drugs, they found that people who used these drugs were more likely to have developed dementia as those who didn’t use them. Moreover, dementia risk increased along with the cumulative dose. Taking an anticholinergic for the equivalent of three years or more was associated with a 54% higher dementia risk than taking the same dose for three months or less.
READ MORE ON HARVARD