- Do all of our loved ones & friends KNOW ?
- *Note: Taken from Health Sciences Institute e-Alert – Melissa Young – 5/4/18
By the time you opened your email this morning, an untold number of people (maybe even you) had already taken a type of drug that’s known to heavily tip the scales toward dementia and Alzheimer’s.
These meds are called anticholinergics, a class of pharmaceuticals used to treat so many conditions that even your doctor or pharmacist may not realize how many are out there.
But those who have been paying attention know that this dementia connection is a huge problem, especially for seniors who may be taking multiple meds that fall into this category.
Now, experts have confirmed earlier warnings about what anticholinergics can do to your brain, finding that not only can they up your chances of dementia, but certain ones can do so for decades after you’ve stopped using them!
These drugs may seem entirely disconnected from each other. But they all have one common denominator: a link to “cognitive decline.”
And I would bet that at least one of them is sitting in your medicine cabinet right now.
Here’s how to know for sure… so you know which meds to ditch!
In the mainstream media, why is it that most every story about a stray puppy or new ice cream flavor is “breaking news,” but when it comes to something actually important, such as how to safeguard your brain, you don’t hear even a whisper about it?
That is, unless you subscribe to eAlert.
Last year, we told you how a group of Rx and OTC meds with “anticholinergic” activities can double your chance of having a stroke. But that wasn’t the first appearance of a red flag regarding this class of drugs.
The year before that, we sounded the alarm about how these drugs can shrink your brain.
But even that was a follow-up to a 2015 study from the University of Washington School of Pharmacy that found that taking anticholinergics can up your risk of dementia by over 50 percent — and Alzheimer’s by a whopping 63 percent!
When are doctors going to start paying attention to these findings? And what in the world are they waiting for?
In a just-out study, scientists from universities in the UK and Ireland – as well as Indiana’s Purdue University — compared the habits of over 40,000 Brits who had been diagnosed with dementia to hundreds of thousands of others with no known cognitive difficulties.
They found that those who took anticholinergics for a number of conditions — depression, overactive bladder, or Parkinson’s — upped their chances of developing dementia by a hefty 30 percent. All it took was being on one of those meds for at least a year.
If you think about it, who takes those kinds of drugs for under a year? Some, such as antidepressants, can be lifetime commitments.
But it gets worse.
Researchers also discovered that the risk can persist for years — even decades — after you stop taking them. It’s like having a ticking time bomb… in your head!
These meds do their dirty work by blocking an important chemical messenger in your brain, a neurotransmitter called “acetylcholine,” and as I said, there are loads of drugs that fall into this group.
For example, there’s diphenhydramine, a.k.a. the popular allergy med Benadryl. You’ll also find that active ingredient included in Advil PM, Bayer PM, Nytol, Sominex, and Tylenol PM. Then there’s oxybutynin (sold over the counter as Oxytrol for bladder issues), the brand Chlor-Trimeton for allergies, and Dramamine used for nausea and motion sickness.
The acid blocker Tagamet is also in this group, as is the OTC allergy drug Zyrtec. Also included are the antidepressants Paxil and Brisdelle (which can be prescribed for hot flashes!), Imodium to treat diarrhea, and the antipsychotic Clozaril.
And that’s just the tip of this very large and dangerous iceberg!
The bigger story here is that you won’t find a warning about any of this on the packaging of any anticholinergics you may be taking… even if you use a magnifying glass to read every single side effect!
You may not even know if a med you’re on falls into this dangerous drug class, because that’s not listed on the packaging either.
By now, we should all have learned that just because a drug is commonplace or readily available without a prescription, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to take.
Many of these anticholinergics are for allergies, which means that they’re going to be selling like hotcakes right about now. But instead of turning to Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton, why not try natural remedies like butterbur and goldenseal?
If you need something for nausea, try sniffing some rubbing alcohol from a cotton pad or ball instead of taking Dramamine. Research just published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that kind of “aroma therapy” to be over three times more effective than a prescription drug for nausea!
As the lead author in that study said, the “powerful message” here is that “there are simple, safe ways to deal with symptoms.”
And for any drugs that you’re currently taking — prescription or OTC — ask your doctor or pharmacist whether it falls into this group of anticholinergics, and if so, find out what other options you may have.
To Staying Mentally Sharp,
“Certain anticholinergic drugs tied to 30% higher dementia risk, study finds” Mark Lieber, April 26, 2818, CNN, msn.com