These Commonly Prescribed Drugs Can Cause Dementia, According to a Study

Diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia are more and more common in these modern times. It seems that we are still striving to find the right cure for their treatment, but there is still none that is fully effective.

What can we do to prevent these diseases or at least to alleviate the symptoms?


The most common symptom of an Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss, which commonly affects the age group over 60 years old. On average, irreversible progressive brain disorder begins to affect people over 60 years of age. In addition to this age factor there is also the lifestyle, diet, genes and so on.


The most common form of dementia is general dementia that changes the cognitive function reflected in the way how we remember, think, reason, and behave. Most of the symptoms of dementia in fact join the ones of Alzheimer’s disease.

Every year there is over 10 million new cases, and approximately 50 million people in the world are living with dementia. As per WHO – World Health Organization, it is most likely that the figure will reach 82 million in 2030.

Benadryl Related to Elevated Risk of Dementia

A comprehensive study conducted by the University of Washington and Seattle in March 2015 analyzed the effects of dementia in the older generation. This study involved participation of 3,434 men and women in the age of 65 and even older that did not show any signs of dementia in the beginning of the study. The results of this study were released in the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled “Cumulative Use of Strong Anticholinergics and Incident Dementia.”

This was a long-term study that overviewed every aspect in the lives of the participants like their drug use in the previous decade with all the used over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs. In a period of 7 years, the researchers followed each participant every two years, during which period 797 participants developed dementia, and 637 of them developed Alzheimer’s disease.

The people who took anticholinergics were more prone to developing symptoms of dementia.  It was revealed that those people who took anticholinergic medications for at least three years had 54% chances to develop dementia. The most commonly used anticholinergic drugs by the participants were tricyclic antidepressants, which is the first generation of antihistamines. You may wonder what type of medication is this, follow reading and find out more.

What are anticholinergics?

This medication is prescribed for the treatment of urinary incontinence, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Parkinson’s disease and other diseases. Drugs that belong to this anticholinergics group of medications are: antiasthmatics, antihypertensives, anxiolytics, diuretics, anti-epileptics, certain anti-depressants. glaucoma medications, antitussives, and many more.

Anticholinergic drug blocks the actions and effects of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter that activates painful responses, causes muscle contraction, and as well as regulates endocrine and REM sleep functions.

The brain is made of acetylcholine-producing cells, and if the production is blocked it negatively affects the older generation because the body’s ability to produce acetylcholine is reduced with age.

Therefore, if you want your brain to function accordingly, you should not use anticholinergic drugs. Nonetheless, you should be aware that only a small portion of the drugs interfere with cognitive function.

What to do if you experience memory issues?

First of all you need to be aware that not all memory problems or moments of forgetfulness are indications of dementia. We are living in a stressful era so a thing like forgetting your keys is a normal thing. However, if in time this gets worse and is accompanied with other memory issues you should do the following steps:

  • Pay a visit to your doctor and explain to him in details what is happening to you, and he will determine the right treatment and prevention of more serious mental disorders.
  • Take blood tests to ensure that your dementia symptoms are not caused by hormonal imbalances or nutritional deficiencies like vitamin B12.
  • Certain prescribed drugs could cause cognitive failures, and if you experience something like that ask your doctor to give you more details about the drugs you are taking.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle incorporating balanced diet along with a regular physical activity. Limit the intake of sugar, and make sure to consume healthy fats.

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