Prescription Drugs Linked to 50% Higher Risk of Dementia

A new study was released in the JAMA Internal Medicine this week that found a link between prescription drugs and dementia. The study found a link between anticholinergic drugs and dementia, particularly drugs that are used to as antiepileptic, antipsychotic, bladder antimuscarinics and antidepressants.

Researchers note a 50% increase in the risk of dementia for people who took 1,095 daily doses of anticholinergic within a 10-year period.

The doses are equivalent to taking an anticholinergic medication daily for just three years.

“The study is important because it strengthens a growing body of evidence showing that strong anticholinergic drugs have long term associations with dementia risk,” said Carol Coupland, first author of the study.

The study also highlights the strongest associations of anticholinergic and dementia.

Researchers claim that this is just an observational study and it’s still too early to draw firm conclusions on whether or not these drugs cause dementia. Carol claims that the study’s results do not mean that anyone should stop taking their medication without consulting with their doctors first.

The study involved 283,343 adults in the UK, all aged 55 or older, and data was from between 2004 and 2016. Researchers found that antidepressant drugs were the most commonly prescribed anticholinergic along with drugs that are meant to treat overactive bladder, vomiting and motion sickness.

Scientists found that 58,769 of the adults had a dementia diagnosis.

Antihistamines, antispasmodic medication and antiarrhythmics were all not found to increase the risk of dementia.

The odds of dementia increased from 1.06 to 1.49 compared to those in the study that did not take an anticholinergic medication. The study did have its limits, and there was no way to tell if the patients took the medication as directed.

Researchers claim that there is an association between dementia risk and anticholinergic drugs. However, around 10% of dementia diagnosis may be associated with anticholinergic drug exposure.

Notably, some scientific studies have found curcumin, a natural flavonoid in the spice turmeric, to possess anti-inflammatory properties that may help people suffering from age-related diseases like dementia.