Do you or a loved one take a lot allergy or sleep medications? Research has shown that some drugs can make you very susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease.
The risk of getting this disease gets even higher if you have been taking some of these same medications for long periods of time.
What commonly used drugs fall into this category of “Possible Alzheimer disease catalysts”?
Prescription and over-the-counter medications such as Sinequan(tricyclic antidepressants doxepin),Chlor-Trimeton(chlorpheniramine which is an antihitamine) and Benadryl(diphenhydramine), andDitropan(oxybutynin for bladder control).
What makes these drugs potentially unsafe?
These medications called anticholinergic agents block the brain chemical acetylcholine which is responsible for transmitting nerve signals throughout the brain and nervous system. Short term use of these drugs negatively affect cognitive abilities such as attention and working memory while long term use carries an increased risk of developing dementia including Alzheimer’s disease. “Older adults should be aware that many medications — including some available without a prescription, such as over-the-counter sleep aids — have strong anticholinergic effects,” said study author Shelly Gray, director of the geriatric pharmacy program at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy
More so the effects and the possible damage brought about by using these drugs are long lasting and may be irreversible. It is suggested that if there is no better choice of drug treatment that can be given other than medication with anticholinergic effects then it should be administered at the lowest effective dose. If you regularly use these drugs, you should consult with your doctor on whether you should continue or seek alternatives.
What are better drug substitutes?
Dr. Gray had suggested substitutes such as Celexa (cetalopram which is a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor), Prozac (fluoxitene for depression), Claritin (loratidine which is an antihistamine for allergies). These drugs serve as better alternatives since they do not carry any anticholinergic effects. She includes that “health care providers should regularly review their older patients’ drug regimens — including over-the-counter medications — to look for chances to use fewer anticholinergic medications at lower doses.”
Results of studies have shown that the long-term use of anticholinergic drugs can cause problems for your brain down the road.
For more information, check out the article from Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s by clicking “Here”
source: alzinfo.org. Disclaimer: 1Heart Caregiver Services Blog may contain articles about health care and medical related topics. However, no warranty is made that any of the articles are accurate. There is absolutely no assurance that any statement contained or cited in any or our articles touching on health care or medical related matters is correct, true, up-to-date or, precise, If any of the statements we mentioned about healthcare or medicine is accurate, it may or may not apply to you or your symptoms. The health care or medical information provided on 1Heart Caregiver Services is, at best, of a general nature and cannot replace the advise of a health care/medical professional. 1Heart Caregiver Services will not take responsibility for the results or consequences in attempting to use or adopt any information presented in its blog articles.
Kevin Tagarao is 1Heart Caregiver Services' Vice President of Operations.