Common over-the-counter drugs linked to dementia and brain shrinkage [STUDY]
Louise Bonquin | Apr 25, 2016 11:08 AM EDT
Over-the-counter drugs can hurt the brain and increase risk of dementia
Over-the-counter drugs can hurt the brain and increase risk of dementia (Photo : You Tube/Human Relations Media)
People rely on over-the-counter medicines for quick relief of allergies, colds and insomnia. However, most of the meds used to treat these common health issues have been declared unsafe after new study revealed that taking them can lead to dementia and can possibly decrease the size of the brain.
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In the newest research that was published on Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology, one research team stated that a lot of prescription and over-the-counter drugs can actually increase the risk of developing dementia among the elders. The researchers particularly mentioned anticholinergic drugs as risky to use because they are one of those medicines that are linked to dementia and cognitive impairment.
Likewise, scientists said that older patients who take anticholinergic medicines to deal with wide range of health conditions such as allergies, depression, urinary incontinence, asthma, allergies, sleeping problems, hypertension and obstructive pulmonary disease, should be made aware of the side effects from such type of medication. These drugs were recently found to have serious ill effects on the brain so it must be taken with utmost precautions if it cannot be avoided.
People might not be familiar with anticholinergic drugs but it is highly likely that many know about Dimetapp, Paxil, Benadryl, Dramamine, Demerol and Unisom. These medicines are commonly sold over-the-counter and often prescribed by physicians, however, these were included in the list of medicines to watch out for because scientists discovered that patients who take them score poorly on cognitive tests and their brains appear to be smaller in size compared to those who do not take such medications.
In order to assess any changes in the participants' brain condition and activities, the reserachers made used of PET and MRI scans. Each person was also asked to take memory and cognitive tests which include short term memory tests, problem solving, verbal reasoning, planning and execution functions.
According to CNN, 451 people had participated in the study at the Indiana University School of Medicine and most of them are already in their early 70s. Findings showed that over time, the brains of at least 60 people who were taking anticholinergic drugs have shrunk and not functioning to the level as they should.
"These findings provide us with a much better understanding of how this class of drugs may act upon the brain in ways that might raise the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia," assistant professor of radiology and imaging sciences Shannon Risacher said.
Finally, the professor said that with the latest findings, doctors should think twice before prescribing anticholinergic drugs. She also urged them to consider alternative medicines, whenever possible, for the safety of the patients.
Watch the video for more evidence rhat common drugs may cause cognition issues:
Tags:over-the-counter medicinesdementiaCommon colds drugsShannon RisacherJAMA
Read more: http://en.yibada.com/articles/118916/20160425/common-over-counter-drugs-linked-dementia-brain-shrinkage-study.htm#ixzz47KktWeTm