9 Popular Drugs Linked to Dementia and Memory Loss

Any time you take a medication, weighing the risks and benefits of the drug is a must. And now we must ask ourselves, “Is this one of the drugs linked to dementia and memory loss?” Emerging research is finding disturbing connections between anticholinergic drugs and negative brain effects. This drug class includes popular medications used for allergies, seasickness and sleep, including diphenhydramine, dimenhydrinate and others.

And yes, you’d think some of the most popular allergy and insomnia drugs on the market would be safe, but one study outlines some frightening health risks. The JAMA Neurology study is unique because Indiana University School of Medicine researchers actually used brain imaging to detect how anticholinergic drugs impact the brain. Using MRI and PET scan imaging, researchers showed how people taking anticholinergic drugs experienced lower brain metabolism and higher brain atrophy.

This isn’t the first time researchers found a connection between anticholinergic drugs and cognitive decline. In 2015, University of Washington scientists also found the chronic use of certain anticholinergic sleep aids and hay fever meds in the increased a person’s risk of dementia. The study only found the association for people taking these drugs for 3 or more years. ( is needed to find out if continuous or intermittent use over that time frame leads to the increased risk of dementia.)

9 Drugs That Cause Memory Loss

The thought of memory loss as a result of mediations that are supposed to be aiding your healing is a scary one. Below is a list of drugs with anticholinergic effects to watch out for when trying to preserve brain health:

1. Incontinence Drugs

Generic drug names: darifenacin, oxybutynin, tolterodine, flavoxate

Natural options:

2. Muscle Relaxants

Generic drug names: cyclobenzaprine, dicyclomine, orphenadrine

Natural options:

3. Narcotic Painkillers

Generic drug names: meperidine

Natural options:

Natural painkillers exist in a number of different forms. Depending on the cause and type of pain you’re experiencing, various remedies may be appropriate. Potential natural pain-killing options include:

  • Cryotherapy (for muscle pain)
  • Chiropractic care
  • Peppermint or lavender essential oils (for headaches and muscle pain)
  • Graston techinque
  • Epsom salt

4. Anti-Seizure Medications

Generic drug names: carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine

Natural options:

5. Parkinson’s Medication

Generic drug names: benztropine, procyclidine, trihexyphenidyl, amantadine

Natural options:

  • While some medication may be necessary to treat Parkinson’s, there are emerging drug-free options for some people like deep brain stimulation.

6. Tricyclic Antidepressants

Generic drug names: amitriptyline, amoxapine, clomipramine, desipramine, doxepin, imipramine, nortriptyline, trimipramine

Natural options:

7. Antipsychotic Drugs

Generic drug names: clozapine, olanzapine, perphenazine, quetiapine, thioridazine, trifluoperazine, loxapine, methotrimeprazine, molindone, pimozide

Natural options: 

8. Allergy Medications

Generic drug names: carbinoxamine, chlorpheniramine, clemastine, diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine, promethazine, cyproheptadine

Natural options:

  • If you have a ragweed allergy, avoid melons, bananas, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, echinacea and chamomile, as they can trigger an allergic response in your system.

9. Motion Sickness Medications

Generic drug names: dimenhydrinate, diphenhydramine, meclizine, promethazine, scopolamine

Natural options:

Anxiety & Insomnia Drugs?

While it’s too soon to say for sure, recent research found potential correlations between benzodiazepines (drugs commonly prescribed for insomnia and anxiety) and dementia — but more research is needed. One study followed more than one thousand elderly people for a span of 15 years. Initially, patients were dementia free. After the first three years of the study, those who started taking benzodiazepines were 60 percent more likely to develop dementia than those who did not use the drugs. With so many factors that contributing to the formation of the disease, this is not evidence enough to determine causation. It’s probably safe to say the risk is still there, however, and with so many natural options available, it may not be worth the risk. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, try:

  • Using valerian root as a sleep remedy
  • Setting your temperature between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit; this lowers your body’s internal thermometer, initiating sleepiness
  • Eating melatonin-rich, inducing foods like bananas, cherries, ginger or radishes as a bedtime snack.

Final Thoughts on Over-the-Counter Drugs and Dementia Risk

While you shouldn’t stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor, it’s worth a conversation to see if your mediations include anticholinergic drugs linked to dementia. If they are, inquire about possible alternative options with fewer serious side effects, including natural remedies.

The post 9 Popular Drugs Linked to Dementia and Memory Loss appeared first on Healthy Holistic Living.

This content was originally published here.

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