Medications that increase the risk of Alzheimer's

The Alzheimer disease affects about 50 million people today and the worst of all is that statistics does not stop growing. It is the most frequent cause of dementia and generates a cognitive deterioration characterized by memory loss and the sense of orientation, alterations in language, difficulties in planning tasks or solving problems, changes in personality and behavior.

There is no treatment to cure or prevent it and, according to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Organization of the Saul (WHO), "in the next 30 years, it is expected that the number of people with this disease triple"" We have to do everything possible to reduce our risk of dementia. The scientific evidence confirms what we had been suspecting for a long time: that what is good for our hearts is also good for our brain, "he adds.

Can certain medications increase your risk of Alzheimer's? According to new research, people who take a class of common pills called anticholinergic for several years they are more likely to develop dementia as they get older. It is not a new hypothesis, but the study published in the journal 'JAMA Internal Medicine' has analyzed in more detail and for a longer period of time.

Which are?

The drugs include clozapine (to treat schizophrenia); the darifenacin (marketed as Enablex for the bladder); scopolamine (for nausea); ipratropium (a bronchodilator); tizanidine (muscle relaxant); the diphenhydramine (antihistamine) or paroxetine (antidepressant). These drugs act by blocking a chemical called acetylcholine It acts as a neurotransmitter and participates in many functions of the nervous system, including muscle movements, heart rate, widening of blood vessels, respiratory functions and muscle contractions in the stomach during digestion.

It is an observational study, so there is no way to know if the use of this type of drugs play a direct role

Who is more likely to take them? Older people, for the mere fact that They usually have more health problems. Some specialists say that those who produce less of this type of substance as they get older are more likely to have a stronger effect from the neurochemical. Previous research suggests that long-term use of these anticholinergic drugs increases the risk of the development of dementia.

One of the studies carried out in 2015 by the University of Washington found that those over 65 years of age or older who had been treated with any of these medicines for three years or more they had a 54% higher risk of developing Alzheimer's than those who took them for three months or less. In addition, a 2014 review with 30 investigations showed that anticholinergic drugs increased the cognitive impairment and other symptoms like confusion.


The doctor Malaz Boustani, director of the Regenstrief Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science at Indiana University, has created a tool called cognitive anticholinergic loading scale, which classifies medications for their suspected side effects. Experts advise avoid prolonged use of pills on a scale 3 or combinations that together are that level or more.

Alzheimer's disease affects some 50 million people and statistics say that the number of people suffering from it will triple

The new research, carried out by Carol Coupland, professor of medical statistics at the University of Nottingham, evaluated the prescription drugs of 285,000 55-year-old patients or more and about 59,000 were diagnosed with dementia. The records showed that most of them have taken some of these drugs between 1 and 11 years before diagnosis.

They were able to show that the risk of suffering from dementia it grew almost 50% in those who took some type of these treatments. The strongest association was with the antidepressants, antipsychotics and medications for bladder or epilepsy. It is an observational study, so there is no way to know if the use of this type of drugs play a direct role.

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