Health & FitResearch links widely-used drugs to a nearly 50% higher risk of dementia

19:55  29 july  2019
19:55  29 july  2019 Source:   cbsnews.com

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There was nearly a 50% increased odds of dementia among adults aged 55 and older in the UK who took a strong anticholinergic medication daily for at least three years, according to a new study. Commonly prescribed drugs are tied to nearly 50 % higher dementia risk in older adults, study says.

Scientists have long found a possible link between anticholinergic drugs and an increased risk of dementia . New study finds commonly prescribed anticholinergic drugs are tied to a nearly 50 percent higher dementia risk in older adults, from 1.06 percent for those with least exposure to the

A recent study found some common drugs could increase the risk of dementia or dementia-like symptoms by nearly 50 percent. According to the research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, discovered the increase odds of dementia in people 55 and older who take anticholinergic medications.

Anticholinergics are used to treat a wide range of conditions, including depression, symptoms of Parkinson's disease, bladder control and insomnia. An estimated one in four older adults take anticholinergic drugs. Some antihistamines like Benadryl are also anticholinergics, but were not associated with dementia in this study.

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Research finds association among users over age 75, but can't prove the medications cause For example, the medications have been linked to a 20 percent to 50 percent higher risk of chronic To test the possible association between PPIs and dementia , the German researchers collected data

Researchers find anticholinergic drugs —sometimes used to treat dementia —substantially increase risk . Anticholinergic drugs were associated with a 50 percent higher risk for dementia . If you’re talking health or nutrition, it’s nearly a guarantee that at some point, antioxidants are going to pop up.

"This is a very broad class of medications," CBS News' Dr. Tara Narula told "CBS This Morning." "A lot of Americans use these drugs whether prescription or over-the-counter ranging from things like antihistamines or anti-allergy medicines, sleep aids, bladder control medication, Parkinson's drugs, COPD meds, I mean the list goes on and on."

The study, which Narula cautioned is a correlational and not a cause-and-effect study, looked at more than 200,000 individuals in Britain who took a strong anticholinergic drug for three years and found a 49% increased risk of dementia.

"A lot of these researchers have said, look, some of these drugs that we're giving – like the anti-depressants and the sleep aids – we're giving to people who may have had dementia all along because some of these things like depression and sleep deprivation are early signs of dementia," she said.

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Researchers have linked a widely used heart drug to increased risk of dementia . Warfarin is a blood thinner used in the treatment of atrial fibrillation The researchers found that patients with atrial fibrillation experienced higher rates of dementia and Alzheimer's. Within eight years, close to 6

Previous research found a link between between the anticholinergic drugs and cognitive impairment and increased risk of dementia . The new paper published in the journal JAMA Neurology, is believed to be the first to study the potential underlying biology of those clinical links using neuroimaging

It's important for pharmacists, doctors and patients all be informed about this and to keep in mind that the elderly are particularly susceptible for a number of reasons including a more permeable blood-brain barrier and because they are often on multiple medications, meaning there could be a cumulative effect. Because of those risks, Narula said that patients with dementia should not be on these medications at all.

Past studies have shown that when patients go off anticholinergics the symptoms subside, but researchers are calling for a randomized control trial – considered the gold standard in research – so they can fully understand whether there is a real cause and effect link.

"At every [doctor] visit you should be going over all of your medications and saying, do I need to be on this? Is it working for me, and what are the risks and benefits and are there alternative agents that might be good for me and don't assume if it's over-the-counter that it's safe."

CBS News reached out to the makers of the antidepressant, Paxil, for comment, but have not heard back.

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There has been a growing number of studies showing the negative effects of common medications that could contribute to development of dementia and memory loss. The findings come from the analysis of the brains of people taking anticholinergic drugs. The participants were found with lower brain metabolism and higher brain atrophy after long-term exposure to the medications, according to DrAxe.com. A separate study released in 2015 also found the negative effects of anticholinergic drugs.

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