They are currently understood to result in quite a few short-term negative effects, for example, memory loss and confusion, but new research connects several of the stronger anticholinergic drugs (like those prescribed for Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, depression, and overactive bladder) to a markedly higher dementia risk
The study included two groups of seniors: 59,000 patients with dementia, and 225,000 without. About 57% of those with dementia, and 51% without, were provided a minimum of one (and up to 6) strong anticholinergic medicines. Taking into consideration other established dementia risk factors, the outcomes were an astounding 50% higher risk of dementia in individuals who were taking strong anticholinergics every day for three or more years, with the greatest risk to individuals who received a dementia diagnosis before age 80.
It is important to notice that there was no correlation found between dementia and other types of anticholinergics (such as antihistamines like Benadryl and GI medications).
Even though these findings do not prove anticholinergics as a cause for dementia, at the very least, “This study provides further evidence that doctors should be careful when prescribing certain drugs that have anticholinergic properties,” according to Tom Dening, study co-author and head of Nottingham’s Center for Dementia. Dening also emphasized that people currently prescribed these medications must not discontinue taking them suddenly, which could cause additional harm.
The suggestion is for any individual worried about this potential link to speak with his or her physicians, to take into consideration the advantages against any potential risks, and to investigate alternative means of treatment when possible. For example, individuals taking medications for help with sleeping – something that has grown to become more and more common in older adults – can take into consideration behavioral changes and a more therapeutic plan over sleep medications.
And regardless of the medications a senior takes, appropriate medication management is essential – something that’s easier said than done with a lot of seniors taking multiple medications in a variety of doses at different times of the day. Atlanta Home Care Partners‘ medication reminder services are well suited to make sure older adults take the correct medications at the right time – each time.
Our specially trained and knowledgeable dementia care team is also on hand to provide creative, caring, effective strategies to help minimize the challenging facets of the disease, resulting in a higher quality of life for both seniors and their families. Contact us at (404) 228-0103 any time to learn more the best personal care Decatur and the surrounding area can find.