Anticholinergic medications may be linked to increased dementia risk

“Avoiding anticholinergic medications over the counter is a smart choice with this information. The list of common anticholinergic drugs is listed here in Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anticholinergic . It surprised me.” Bill Chesnut, MD

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Anticholinergic medications may be linked to increased dementia risk

ABC World News Tonight (4/18, story 10, 0:20, Muir) reported that “certain medications may increase the risk of dementia,” a new study warns. Medicines, “including tablets for cold and flu, allergies and heartburn,” appear to be linked to “memory problems.”

According to CNN (4/18, Tinker), the study “offers the most definite proof yet of what scientists have known for at least a decade: that anticholinergic” medications are associated with “cognitive impairment and an increased risk of dementia.” Such medicines “are sold over the counter and by prescription as sleep aids and for chronic diseases including hypertension, cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”

TIME (4/18, Oaklander) points out that researchers “analyzed already existing data from 451 people around ages 70-75 who had normal brains,” then “examined the results of memory tests, MRI brain scans and other neuroimaging data – all while paying particular attention to people who said they took anticholinergic” medications. Seniors “who regularly took at least one anticholinergic drug showed poorer cognition, lower brain volumes and less glucose metabolism in the whole brain and the temporal lobe” than seniors who did not. The study was published online in JAMA Neurology.