What Drugs are Connected to Dementia?

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Dementia has been linked to certain medications.

We have all seen drug commercials.

These ads depict (apparently), healthy, happy humans smiling with their loved ones while engaged in a wide variety of fun activities together.

But, as they say, wait for it.

For what?

For the inevitable laundry list of potential risks and side effects at the end of the commercials.

Listening to these disclaimers can be quite frightening.

Unfortunately, some side effects may not be recognized right away or even present themselves for years after taking a drug.

In fact, according to a recent CNN article titled “Commonly prescribed drugs tied to nearly 50% higher dementia risk in older adults, study says,” certain drugs have been linked to development of dementia.

Risk factors for dementia include certain prescriptions.
Certain drugs are connected to higher dementia risk.

For example, one study was conducted over a 12-year period and focused on about 300,000 participants age 55 or older.

The results?

Even short term use of certain drugs can significantly increase the risk of seniors developing dementia.


What are these drugs?

They are called anticholinergic drugs.

Although they have been associated with confusion and memory problems, the study seems to confirm their connection to dementia development.

These drugs are used to treat several ailments.

They include antidepressants like paroxetine and amitriptyline, as well as antipsychotic drugs like olanzapine and chlorpromazine.

They are also include overactive bladder treatments like oxybutynin and tolterodine, as well as anti-seizure medications like carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine for epilepsy.

These types of drugs are also prescribed for motion sickness and vertigo.

Do you need prolonged exposure for an increased dementia risk?


Would you believe one pill a day for three years can increase your likelihood for developing dementia by some 50 precent?

Are all anticholinergic medications associative with dementia?

Again, no.

Anti-arrhythmic drugs, antimuscarinic bronchodilators, skeletal muscle relaxants, antihistamines, and gastrointestinal antispasmodics have not been associated with increased dementia risk.


The answer is unclear, but further research could provide answers.

What if you take the risk increasing drugs?

Naturally, the first step is to talk with your doctor.

It is unwise to simply end taking any prescribed pharmaceutical without discussing your options with a medical professional.

This is especially important for drugs treating depression, psychosis, or seizures.

Your doctor may recommend an alternative to decrease your risk of developing dementia.

Regardless whether you take these drugs, you should be prepared for incapacity caused by demented and get your estate plan in place before you develop symptoms.

References: CNN. (accessed December 19, 2019) Commonly prescribed drugs tied to nearly 50% higher dementia risk in older adults, study says.”

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