Common Anticholinergic Drugs High Risk of Dementia

Common Anticholinergic Drugs and their Long Term Use – Linked To High Risk of Dementia

Common Anticholinergic Drugs – High Risk of Dementia

A new report published in JAMA Internal Medicine (formerly, Archives of Internal Medicine) indicates that long term use of common anticholinergic drugs and their use in the past 10 years is associated with a significantly increased risk for developing dementia.

Common anticholinergic drugs include tricyclic antidepressants, first-generation antihistamines, and urinary bladder antispasmodics or some anti-vertigo drugs.

In the JAMA Internal Medicine study,  the research team from the University of Washington, Seattle, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia used a prospective population-based cohort study from the Adult Changes in Thought study in Group Health, in Seattle, Washington, including 3434 participants, aged 65 years or older.

The conclusion of this study is that “higher cumulative anticholinergic use is associated with an increased risk for dementia”.

Interestingly, a previous British Medical Journal study indicates that there is a dose-effect relation between benzodiazepine use and the increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

As per a news report, Shelly Gray, the senior author of the JAMA study recommends that “health care providers should regularly review their older patients’ drug regimens – including over-the-counter medications – to look for chances to use fewer anticholinergic medications at lower doses”.

Source: JAMA Intern Med, 2015 Jan 26. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.7663. [Epub ahead of print]

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