A study was published in 2015 that clearly linked anticholinergic drugs with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Many of these drugs are taken by countless Americans on a daily basis. Are you taking one or more of these drugs? Do you realize the risk? If you take one of these drugs on a daily basis for 3 or more years, your risk of dementia will increase by more than 50%!
We should only have to listen to the litany of side effects and contraindications to know that most, if not all, of today’s pharmaceuticals are dangerous. Yet somehow, most of us have been brainwashed into ignoring these warnings, always believing in the overarching promise that the FDA will not allow drugs on the market that can hurt us – even when the pharmaceutical ads say otherwise. When that overconfidence is not the reason we ignore the warnings, perhaps it is the lure of playing Russian roulette. Surely we won’t be among the ones who die, suffer a stroke, or experience some other heinous side-effect.
Since we have been conditioned to ignore warnings, both verbal and in print, will we also ignore a study that reveals a horrific outcome for a large collection of drugs? Will we ignore the findings that link these drugs to irreversible dementia? Or will we listen?
What is Dementia?
Dementia is not a normal part of aging. It is a set of symptoms – cognitive impairments involving memory, reasoning and judgment, focus and attention, communication and language, and/or visual perception. Dementia is present when at lease two of these symptoms are severe enough to cause significant impairment in activities of daily living.
Alzheimer’s, an irreversible and progressive disease, accounts for the vast majority of dementia patients. Many studies have suggested a link between anticholinergic drugs and dementia. A recent longitudinal study showed a significant link between these drugs and dementia with the vast majority (79%) of dementia patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
What Are Anticholinergic Drugs?
Anticholinergic drugs block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. These drugs are used to treat many diseases and disorders including sleep disorders, depression, muscle cramps, insomnia, allergies, asthma, incontinence, gastrointestinal cramps, motion sickness, vertigo, hypertension, Parkinson’s, psychosis, and COPD.
Some of these drugs are commonly sold over the counter like Benedryl, Advil PM, Tylenol PM, and Motrin PM. And many people take these drugs on a daily basis. The study not only showed a significant link between these drugs and Alzheimer’s, it showed a dose response – meaning that the longer you take these drugs, the more likely Alzheimer’s will be the result. The following statistics reveal the effects of these drugs taken daily compared to those who did not use these drugs:
- 3-12 months – 19% increased risk for Alzheimer’s
- 1-3 years – 23% increased risk for Alzheimer’s
- 3-7 years – 54% increased risk for Alzheimer’s
A Comprehensive List of Anticholinergic Drugs
Aging Brain Care has created a detailed list of anticholinergic drugs, with both generic and brand names. In the notes, it says, “Each definite anticholinergic may increase the risk of cognitive impairment by 46% over 6 years.” So before you take that daily dose of medication, check to be sure the drug you are taking is not one of the 99 medications listed on the Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Scale. Or better yet, reclaim your health and get off medications altogether. It’s easier than you think.
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- Anticholinergics – Healthline
- Strong Link Found Between Dementia, Common Anticholinergic Drugs – Drug Discovery and Development Magazine
- Cumulative Use of Strong Anticholinergics and Incident Dementia – JAMA