New Study Links Hay Fever Medicine to Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Medical science has progressed at astounding rates and has lately been focused at identifying side effects of everyday medicine. Latest researches in medical science have brought to light an alarming revelation: Many of the medicines being used on a daily basis might actually increase the risk of developing Dementia and Alzheimer’s in aged people.

List of Medicines

The drugs are commonly sold with and without prescription and their effects are more pronounced on individuals of senior age group. Scientists spearheading the research were able to establish a link between use of such medicine and abnormal brain size. These medicines include:

  • Bladder control medicine
  • Hay Fever medicine
  • Anti-Depressants
  • Sleeping Pills
  • Anticholinergics (Appetite Suppressants)

Potential Side Effects of Medicines

Potential Side Effects of Medicines

The study consisted of a test group of 451 senior individuals among which 60 were taking Anticholinergics based medicines. Conducted at Indiana School of Medicine, the research subjected the participants to mental assessments and various brain scans to gather complete data regarding side effects of medicine.

The study revealed that participants who were actively taking Anticholinergics suffered from the following physical abnormalities:

  • Cavities in brain matter
  • Expanded ventricles
  • Reduced brain size, density and volume
  • Low Glucose metabolism in brain

The mental tests were not encouraging either. Judging on the basis of problem solving, written and unwritten skills and short term memory among other cognitive functions, 60 from the test group scored significantly inferior grades in their tests. The lower Glucose metabolism also pointed towards higher risks of developing Alzheimer’s, as it is a signature symptom of the disease.


Prevention is the best Medicine

First author of the research paper, Dr. Shannon Risacher, Assistant Professor of Radiology and Imaging Sciences of Indiana School of Medicine stated the research was instrumental in identifying side effects of these medicines and how they contribute towards development of Dementia. He further added that physicians should refrain from using these medicines and instead opt for alternatives to Anticholinergic medicine for senior patients as they are at greater risk of Alzheimer’s.

“Given all the research evidence, physicians might want to consider alternatives to anticholinergic medications if available when working with their older patients”, Dr. Risacher stated.

This New Study Helped Verify the Problems

For a long time, several conventional medicines have been highlighted for increasing risk of developing Dementia, Alzheimer’s and mental retardation. However, this study is the first of its kind to delve in-depth on this issue. Since the study involved use of advanced medical technology such as neuroimaging to analyze brain atrophy and metabolism, the researchers successfully derived the effects of Anticholinergic drugs on brain.

Anticholinergic Drugs: Medically Safe or Unsafe?

Anticholinergic Drugs: Medically Safe or Unsafe?

By studying the biological reasoning behind these diseases, the research yielded precise facts which accurately depicted how these medicine affect the brain. Even so, Dr. Risacher added that the research yielded a rudimentary understanding relating to biological chemistry of how Anticholinergic drugs affect the brain and warranted greater research to ascertain facts.

Regarding Anticholinergic medicines, the research concluded that there was indeed a connection between them and brain disorders such as Alzheimer’ and other forms of Cognitive Impairment. Therefore, they should be avoided when treating adult patients and should especially be reconsidered if there are medical alternatives to choose from.

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