The more anticholinergic drugs you take, the greater your risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s. This has been studied by Dr. Shelly Gray, at the University of Washington in Seattle. Shelly (not Grey as in Meredith or Derek !) and she is a Pharmacologist.
This group of drugs include popular antihistamines sold over the counter as sleep aids and for allergy relief.
Commonly prescribed anticholinergic drugs are:
- tiotropium(Spiriva) for asthma
- diphenhydramine, for aid in sleeping and allergy relief(Benadryl, Unisom Sleep Gels Maximum Strength)
- ipratropium bromide(Altrovent) for bronchitis,emphysema, and COPD
- oxitropium bromide(Oxivent) for asthma and COPD
- chlorpheniramine; oxybutynin and tolterodine for overactive bladder
- tricyclic antidepressants, such as doxepin or amitriptyline, even when used at low doses for migraine prevention or neuropathic pain.
The rigorous 7 year study showed a correlation with only 2 months of use at a low dose. These findings are a strong reminder to check the labels of everything you take, and read the information on side effects before taking any medication. Then you can be aware if you feel any of the side effects and talk to your doctor.
Here is the link to the actual abstract published in JAMA(Journal of the American Mecical Association) Internal Medicine: http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2091745