Taking medications for what ails you is something that most people don’t think about too much. In some cases, the answer for the issues you are having is an over-the-counter medication. In other cases, the answer is prescription medication. What you might not realize is that taking medications, even if they seem safe, can sometimes lead to other medical issues.
A study that was recently released shows that anticholinergic drugs, which include many commonly used OTC and prescription drugs, can have a negative effect on cognitive impairment and can increase the risk of dementia. This class of drugs includes Benadryl, Unisom, Dimetapp, and a host of other drugs that are used to treat chronic conditions or as sleep aids.
The study included 451 people. Of those, 60 were taking medications that were known to have high or moderate anticholinergic activity. They underwent imaging scans and other tests to determine how these medications affected them. Overall, the people who were on these medications had lower scores for verbal reasoning, problem solving and short-term memory.
While this is the first study of its kind, it does show that doctors who prescribe medications that are considered anticholinergics must be careful to consider the patient’s overall cognitive function so that the patient doesn’t suffer harm. The negative effects noted in the study could take as few as 60 days to occur if the medication has a strong anticholinergic effect or 90 days for drugs with weaker anticholinergic effects. Patients who do suffer harm because of taking these medications, especially if the doctor failed to make the connection between the cognitive abilities in the patient and the use of the medication, might opt to pursue claims for compensation.
Source: ABC57, “New study shows common over-the-counter drugs can hurt your brain,” Ben Tinker, April 18, 2016