As super agers I know that we feel “bullet proof” when it comes to anything that will slow us down. But, I would guess that Alzheimers-related dementia is one of the illnesses we fear. It may not strike us personally but it certainly affect our significant others, friends and parents. My mother is in her late 80s (certainly the new 50, right?!), I have been concerned with the potential risk of dementia. Many of her friends have succumbed to this horrible disease and she has watched them go from vibrant and feisty to confused and lost. Research shows us that diabetes, depression, heart disease, smoking obesity and heavy alcohol use can increase the possibility of dementia. Fortunately, my Mother has only recently experienced heart issues and is relatively risk-free. Her big vice is wine with her book club (and this “sipping” may go on for hours afterward….). I think we could all cut down on that little vice but, she feels its a “social” thing and wants to be part of the fun! I agree and I am not quite to 80……although some days it feels close:) heehee
Multiple studies on older adults have shown a link between certain medications and dementia, which includes symptoms like poor memory, mood swings, trouble with communication, and impaired reasoning. If you are taking any of the following medications, consider talking with your doctor about your risk for dementia.
The anticholinergic drugs that may impact the mind are antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, medications for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and overactive bladder medications:
- Antihistamine medications including allergy drugs like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-tab, Aller-Chlor), and sleep medications with diphenhydramine like Unisom, Advil PM and Tylenol PM
- Tricyclic antidepressants like doxepin (Silenor), nortriptyline (Pamelor) and amitriptyline (Elavil)
- Irritable bowel syndrome medications like hyoscyamine (Levsin) and dicyclomine (Bentyl)
- Overactive bladder medications like Enablex, Ditropan, Detrol, Sanctura, Vesicare and Toviaz
What do we know?
In a study of more than 7,000 adults (ref. Goodrx), high doses of these medications were associated with an increased risk of dementia. Other studies have shown that the use of an anticholinergic medication was associated with brain cell death and poor mental functioning.
Do you or someone you care about take any of the drugs listed? If so, you may want to visit or call their physician and ask about likelihood of their being affected. As always, be careful when taking meds if you have more than a couple to take…….overdose is one of the top concerns for seniors with multiple medications.
Take care of you…..you deserve it!