Researchers identified classes of medications that carry a high risk of dementia. These medications include those used to treat depression, urinary incontinence, and Parkinson's disease. ( Joe Raedle | Getty Images )
It has long been known that prolonged use of certain drugs has a negative effect on cognition and can increase a person's risk of dementia.
Findings of a new However, in the study published in British Medical Journal on Wednesday, the researchers discovered anticholinergic drugs that may increase the risk of dementia.
19659005] Anticholinergic Drugs
Anticholinergic drugs work by blocking the effects of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is released to send signals to other cells. These medications are prescribed to 20 to 50 percent of older adults in the United States who have a variety of neurological, gastrointestinal, psychiatric, respiratory, and muscular conditions.
Using data from the UK Clinical Practice Research Database to study the risk of dementia in nearly 350,000 adults, the researchers found that people who used certain types of anticholinergics, such as those used to treat Depression, urinary incontinence and Parkinson's disease, for at least a year or more had approximately 30 percent higher risk of dementia.
Those who take other classes of anticholinergics, such as those used for gastrointestinal problems, on the other hand, were not more likely to develop the neurological disease.
"A strong association between some classes of anticholinergic drugs and future dementia was observed in an incidence.This could be caused by a class-specific effect, or by drugs that are used for very early symptoms of dementia," according to a study researcher Louise Robinson, director of the Institute for Aging at Newcastle University, and her colleagues wrote in their study.
Antidepressants and dementia
The researchers said they found a link between the use of anticholinergic antidepressants and dementia, even when taking these medications 20 years before diagnosis. Anticholinergic antidepressants prescribed frequently include Dosulepin, Paroxetine and Amitriptyline.
Figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention UU They show that one in eight people in the United States over the age of 12 have used antidepressants. The CDC also said that long-term use of these drugs is common.
"A quarter of all people who took antidepressants in the last month reported taking them for 10 years or more," the CDC said.
Identify drugs related to the increased risk of dementia
The findings of the new study suggest that if someone is already at risk of developing dementia, that risk would increase with the long-term use of certain anticholinergic drugs. Robinson said the findings help doctors decide which drugs can be used safely in the long term as people get older.
"This study provides important new evidence about the role of certain drugs in influencing impaired cognition in older people." 19659017] Watch now: 27 most inspiring and motivating quotes from influential leaders in technology
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