Over The Counter Drugs May Have A Link To Dementia

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All The Medications Have An “Anticholinergic” Effect

A new study has come out that say that medicines, including over-the-counter treatments for conditions such as insomnia and hay-fever, may lead to dementia. All the suspected medicines have an “anticholinergic” effect. The condition may aggravate with longer and higher dose of usage. At higher risk are elderly people. The drugs in question block a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine and leaflets that accompany the drugs warn of reduced attention span and memory problems as well as a dry mouth. Another new condition that may arise out of these medicines is dementia. The study was conducted by Dr Shelly Gray and colleagues and had 3,434 people aged 65 and older who had no signs of dementia as studies.

No Specific Brand Named By The Study

The researchers compared the medical and pharmacy records of the studies and made a records of how many of them had been given drug with an anticholinergic effect, at what dose and how often and compared this data with subsequent dementia diagnoses over the next decade. No brands were mentioned but the drug and disease were mentioned. They were Antimuscarinics for treating urinary incontinence, Antihistamines used to treat hay-fever and allergies and Tricyclic antidepressants for treating depression. Of all the studies, 797 developed dementia.

Pharmacists And Doctors Have To Be Cautious

The researchers further said that it was the pharmacists and doctors who had to take a better approach and stop prescribing drugs and medicines that were found to have causes of dementia in it. However, some researchers begged to differ and as Dr Doug Brown said, “it is still unclear whether this is the case and if so, whether the effects seen are a result of long-term use or several episodes of short-term use. More robust research is needed to understand what the potential dangers are, and if some drugs are more likely to have this effect than others.”

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