They’re currently recognized to result in a number of short-term unwanted side effects, for example, memory issues and confusion, but new Alzheimer’s research connects several of the stronger anticholinergic drugs (such as those prescribed for Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, depression, and overactive bladder) to a markedly increased risk for dementia.
The research 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 supplied one or more (and up to six) strong anticholinergic medicines. Considering other established dementia risk factors, the outcomes were an astounding 50% greater chance of dementia in men and women who were taking strong anticholinergics every day for three or more years, with the greatest risk to men and women who received a dementia diagnosis before age 80.
It’s crucial to note that there was no correlation found between dementia and other forms of anticholinergics (such as antihistamines like Benadryl and GI medications).
Even though these findings do not prove anticholinergics as an underlying cause for dementia, or prove that avoiding them will definitively impact Alzheimer’s prevention, at the minimum, “This study provides further evidence that doctors should be careful when prescribing certain drugs that have anticholinergic properties,” said Tom Dening, study co-author and head of Nottingham’s Center for Dementia. Dening also stressed that people currently prescribed these medicines should not stop taking them suddenly, which could cause a great deal more harm.
The suggestion is for any individual worried about this prospective link to talk to his or her physicians to take into consideration the benefits against any possible risks, and to explore alternative means of treatment whenever possible. For example, individuals taking medications for assistance with sleeping – something that has grown to become increasingly widespread in older adults – can contemplate behavioral changes and a more therapeutic perspective over insomnia medications.
And regardless of the medications a senior takes, appropriate medication management is important to ensure maximum health and wellbeing– and is something that’s easier said than done with many seniors taking multiple medications in several doses at differing times during the day. Heaven at Home’s medication reminder services are perfect to make sure older adults take the right medications at the proper time – each and every time.
Our specially trained and experienced dementia care team is also on hand to provide creative, caring, effective Alzheimer’s prevention and care strategies to help reduce the challenging components of the disease, ultimately causing a higher quality of life for seniors and their loved ones. Reach out to us at 866-381-0500 any time for additional information about dementia care Denton and the surrounding communities depend on.