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Some Prescription Drugs Could Pose a 50% Higher Risk of Dementia


A medical journal study presented the possibility of a link between the use of anticholinergic medication and the development of dementia later in life.

Anticholinergic drugs work by prohibiting the function of certain neurotransmitters, and constitutes a class of medication that includes antidepressants, antipsychotics, antimuscarinics, and epilepsy treatment prescriptions.

According to a CNN report on the study, some of the types of drugs that exhibited a link to potential dementia risk include:

  • Amitriptyline
  • Carbamazepine
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Olanzapine
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Oxybutynin
  • Paroxetine
  • Tolterodine

The research team stated that the use of these drugs could raise a patient’s dementia risk by as much as 50% if the medication is taken daily. Specifically, the link was “associated with a total anticholinergic exposure of more than 1,095 daily doses within a 10-year period, which is equivalent to an older adult taking a strong anticholinergic medication daily for at least three years, compared with no exposure.” The medical records of 284,343 adults were studied; patients were older than 55 years of age and lived in the United Kingdom.

The study was an overarching analysis of the effects of many medications — in addition to anticholinergic drugs, researchers also looked into the link between dementia and some antihistamines, muscle relaxers, and other prescriptions. However, none of the non-anticholinergic drugs displayed a significantly greater risk of dementia development.

Experts advise that further study on the link between anticholinergic medication and dementia is needed, as the study did not identify causation, and factors such as the patients’ actual use of the medication could have affected the results. Patients who use anticholinergic drugs should speak with their doctor about the potential long-term effects, and how stopping use for alternative prescriptions could impact their health.

Although the link between anticholinergic medication and dementia is still in question, there are very real risks associated with the use of some other prescription drugs. If you suffered from dangerous side effects caused by medication, please contact Belushin Law Firm, P.C. We represent patients who were injured by defective drugs and help victims recover the compensation they deserve.

Call (888) 918-9890 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys.
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