Latest Research

Extended Use Of Common Medications Increases Dementia Risk

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Common medications, when used for 1 year or more, increase the risk of dementia by 30% in a recent study looking at dementia onset in 350,000 older adults (aged 65 to 99). These medications include anticholinergic drugs – which block the effects of acetylcholine, a chemical used by nerve cells to send signals to other nerve cells and muscles – used for depression, Parkinson’s disease, and urinary incontinence. Anticholinergic drugs prescribed for asthma and gastrointestinal issues did not increase the dementia risk when compared to controls. BMJ

→Takeaway: Anticholinergic medications are prescribed to as many as 50% of older populations in the U.S. and U.K. In addition to the 2018 BMJ study described above, a 2017 study found that long-term use of anticholinergic drugs, including first-class antihistamines (Benadryl) and tricyclic antidepressants, is associated with a significant increased risk of dementia. These findings highlight the importance of embarking on a risk-benefit analysis before taking medication.

Leslie Ann received her BA from the University of Notre Dame and has a Master’s degree in Public Health and Nutrition from Johns Hopkins University. With over a decade of experience working in the health and wellness field as a nutritionist, health writer, and project manager, Leslie Ann is the backbone of the Gutbliss team, overseeing operations as well as the strategic mission of Gutbliss Rx, and authoring much of the content on the site. As a certified yoga teacher and personal trainer, she is an avid believer in integrative methods to treat and heal the body.

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