Anticholinergic drugs linked to 50 percent increase in dementia risk

Overmedicated and suffering

Overmedicated and suffering

Anticholinergic drugs help contract and relax muscles, according to Mayo Clinic. That is around 20,000 of the 209,600 new cases of dementia per year in the UK.

Dr. Scott Turner does his best to treat patients with memory disorders such as dementia.

"While this is a large, well-designed study with interesting results, there is not enough evidence at this time to conclude that anticholinergic drugs increase the risk of dementia, or to change medical practice".

A new study published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine offers even more evidence to support that claim. They were all 55 years old or above at baseline. Among those with dementia, 63% were women and the average age was 82. Prof. Coupland and colleagues sourced the data from the QResearch database and looked at medical records from between January 1, 2004 and January 31, 2016.

At Hennepin Healthcare, doctors read a lot of studies, however one that claims taking certain pills may expand individuals' danger of dementia by as much as 50%, absolutely emerges. More specifically, however, anticholinergic antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, anti-Parkinson's drugs, bladder drugs, and epilepsy drugs were associated with the highest increase in risk.

Among these, the most frequently prescribed drugs were antidepressants, anti-vertigo drugs, and bladder antimuscarinic drugs (for the treatment of overactive bladders). Second, notes Yian Gu, an assistant professor in neurological sciences at Columbia University who was not involved in the study, the researchers could not fully discount the possibility that whatever condition prompted the patients to take the medications in the first place was actually connected to heightened dementia risk, and not the drugs themselves.

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British analysts from the University of Nottingham sifted through nearly 300,000 medical records that demonstrated patients who took particular sorts of anticholinergic medications were up to 50% more likely to create dementia later in life. "These drugs are prescribed for a number of health conditions and any concerns patients might have about them should be discussed with their doctors".

To truly see if anticholinergic drugs are contributing to dementia risk, researchers would have to take a group of people on the medications, ask them to stop taking them, and then compare their rates of dementia to those who continued to take them, to see if there were any differences. "This is important information for physicians to know when considering whether to prescribe these drugs", Coupland added. For one, the study was created to detect only an association, and not a cause-and-effect relationship, between the drugs and dementia.

Researchers at University of Nottingham found that some anticholinergic drugs - a class of drugs that includes some antidepressants, bladder antimuscarinics, antipsychotics and anti-epileptic drugs - are associated with the highest rate of dementia.

"These findings also highlight the importance of carrying out regular medication reviews".

Commonly prescribed drugs like anti-depressants and anti-allergies are found to increase the chances of Dementia by 50%.

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