Studies Showing Link Between Certain Medications and Dementia

Certain Medications Believed to Increase the Risk of Dementia Among the Elderly

By Will Reid, 8:00 am on

How would you feel if your loved one was taking prescriptions that could increase his or her risk for dementia? A number of activists across the nation are showing outrage as a recent study, conducted by the Washington School of Pharmacy in Seattle, are showing that certain medications that are commonly taken by seniors and older adults could put them at higher risk for developing dementia.

The drugs that are suspected of creating the risk are known as anticholinergics, which are known to affect the chemistry of the brain and the rest of the body, and are available to seniors with and without a prescription. Most often, anticholinergics are used for the treatment of depression, incontinence and trouble sleeping. Benadryl, one of the most commonly known anticholinergics used to treat allergies, is also under review, and is often available to seniors as an over-the-counter medication.

The study from the Washington School of Pharmacy involved a control group of more than 3,000 senior men and women who took the medications for a period of at least three years. Although none of the participants showed any indication of dementia beforehand, about 300 participants developed the condition during the course of the study.

Furthermore, the amount of medication taken during the study’s time period proved significant, with higher dosages increasing the likelihood of developing dementia. The results served to reinforce a causal relationship between drugs and dementia that had already been suspected by many of those in the medical community.

Despite the findings of this study, seniors who are taking anticholinergics have been advised not to discontinue their use until they discuss the matter with their doctors. It might be feasible for some patients to be given lower dosages of the medications or, in other cases, for patients to be prescribed substitutes that can be just as effective.

To learn more about seniors and dementia risk, reach out to the Cincinnati dementia care experts at Home Care Assistance. Our professional and compassionate caregivers are provided with advanced education in how to care for seniors with dementia and have also been trained in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method, which was designed to promote mental acuity and brain health for seniors of all cognition levels.

Find out how a Cincinnati Home Care Assistance caregiver could benefit your aging parent or loved one by scheduling a complementary, in-home consultation with a friendly Care Manger today. Simply call 513-891-2273 – we are here to help 24/7.