Avoid Anticholinergics to Preserve Your Memory

Researchers continue to warn that a common class of drugs –anticholinergics–increase the risk of developing thinking and memory problems

There are over 100 different types of these drugs used to treat everything from allergies to high blood pressure

The latest study reports that patients with no previous cognitive issues were 47% more likely to develop a mental impairment if they were taking at least one anticholinergic drug

–Study included 688 people with an average age of 74 who had no trouble with thinking or memory when the study started

–Overall, 30% were taking some sort of anticholinergic drug, and the average patient was taking four or five of these drugs!

–Ten years later, 51% of those taking anticholinergic drugs had developed memory problems –translating to a 47% increase in risk associated with anticholinergics

–It was even worse for people with genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s –they were 2-4 times more likely to experience memory problems associated with anticholinergics than people without the genetic biomarkers

Diphenhydramine: the most common anticholinergic you might encounter

All anticholinergic drugs work by blocking acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the brain

–This affects multiple organs and body systems including: digestion, urinary tract, lungs, muscle control

Diphenhydramine is one of the most used anticholinergics –it is an antihistamine for allergies that is also used in sleep medications because it causes drowsiness

–Benadryl, Tylenol PM (acetaminophen plus diphenhydramine), Advil PM (ibuprofen plus diphenhydramine), Sominex, Unisom, Robitussin, and many more

–Patients age 70 and older given diphenhydramine as a sleep aid had a 70% increased risk of mental changes including disorganized speech and problems with attention

Our website uses cookies to track website usage and preferences. You can read more about cookies here or by visiting our privacy policy. I Understand

Stay Connected

[Connect on Social Media and sign up for my E-Newsletter]

Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.

Choose Your Topics of Interest

[Choose from topics below to personalize articles fed to your home page]

Bones, Joints & Tendons
Children's Health
Upper-Respiratory Tract Health
Diabetes & Neuropathy
Digestion & Gut Health
Eye, Hair, Nails & Skin
Energy & Fatigue
Heart Disease & Stroke
High Blood Pressure
Sleep Disturbances
Brain & Cognitive
Men's Health
Pain Relief
Pet Health
Mental Health/Mood & Stress
Thyroid & Adrenal
Women's Health
Sexual Health
Weight Loss