Navigation Links
Common Medications May Harm Memory in Older People
Date:4/17/2008

Those on anticholinergic drugs had sharper declines in thinking skills, study finds

THURSDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Common medications known as anticholinergic drugs -- used to treat ulcers, stomach cramps, motion sickness, Parkinson's disease and urinary incontinence -- may cause older people to lose their thinking skills more quickly than seniors who don't take the medicines, new research suggests.

"What we found is being on these drugs does worsen your cognitive performance," said Dr. Jack Tsao, an associate professor of neurology at Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Md., who led the study of the effect of the medications on older adults who were, on average, 75. "In the course of a few years, there is a small slippage. It's a minor effect."

Medications for bladder problems and Parkinson's appear to have the worst effect on memory, he said.

Anticholinergic drugs are a class of medicines that work by blocking the binding of a brain chemical called acetylcholine to its receptor in nerve cells.

"You need acetylcholine for [good] memory," Tsao explained. Drugs used to treat Alzheimer's inhibit the enzyme which breaks down acetylcholine, he said, allowing more of it to be used by the brain.

Tsao was expected to present his research Thursday at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting, in Chicago.

Tsao's study adds to the body of evidence on the effect of these drugs on memory. "We've known for a long time that in people with Alzheimer's disease, if you put them on drugs with anticholinergic activity, it clearly worsens their memory, without a doubt."

In the new study, he said, they looked at people who had normal cognitive function.

"Taking the drugs doesn't increase your risk of getting Alzheimer's. There was no change in the progression overall to the diagnosis of Alzheimer's," Tsao stressed. However, there was a decline in cognitive abilities.

Tsao's group evaluated the annual changes in thinking ability of 870 Catholic nuns and clergy members who are part of an ongoing study of older people called the Rush Religious Orders Study.

During the eight-year follow-up, 679 participants took at least one medicine that was an anticholinergic. Those who took the drugs had a rate of cognitive function decline that was 1.5 times faster than those not on the drugs.

Overall, those not on the drugs had a decline in cognitive performance of about 0.5 on the scale used, Tsao said. Those on the medicines showed a decline of 1.5.

When they looked more closely at individual drugs, they found those used for bladder problems and Parkinson's disease impaired memory about three times as much as those not taking anticholinergic drugs.

Another study, published in 2006 in the British Medical Journal, found that elderly people taking anticholinergics had poorer performance on memory and other tests than those who didn't take the drugs.

Another expert, Dr. Niall Galloway, a urologist and director of the Emory University Continence Center in Atlanta, said one strength of the study is that it includes relatively large numbers. Overall, however, he said, "this is not a strong study."

One major problem, he said is that the volunteers are "lumped together," regardless of what the indication is for taking an anticholinergic. It would be helpful to know more specific information, such as how many anticholinergics each patient was taking and how those taking one compared to those taking more than one.

Tsao agreed that more specific information would be better. Meanwhile, he said, "my recommendation is, if someone is having what they feel is a noticeable problem with their ability to remember things, they need to go see their doctor. And they need to mention if they are on one of these drugs."

Galloway agreed, saying that many patients may stay on medications longer than they need to, either because they forget to ask the doctor about it or the doctor doesn't re-evaluate. It's a fair question, he said, to ask your doctor if you need to continue a medication.

More information

To learn more about older adults and medications, visit the U.S. National Institute on Aging.



SOURCES: Jack Tsao, M.D., associate professor, neurology, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Md.; Niall Galloway, M.D., director, Emory University Continence Center, Atlanta; April 17, 2008, presentation, American Academy of Neurology annual meeting, Chicago


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Almost Family Announces Pricing of 2,250,000 Common Shares
2. Cells on path to becoming mature T-cells more flexible than commonly thought
3. Small Brain Lesions More Common Than Thought in Those Over 60
4. Global Med Technologies(R), Inc. Announces the Sale of Approximately 3.3 Million Shares of Global Med Common Stock Held by SingXpress Ltd., an Asian Company, to Five American Institutions
5. High-Performing Healthcare Organizations Have Seven Qualities in Common
6. Deep Sedation Becoming More Common for Dying Patients in Holland
7. Community-Based Staph Pneumonia More Common Than Thought
8. New EBRI/Commonwealth Fund Research: Enrollment in Consumer-Driven Plans Remains Low, Survey Shows
9. Radioimmunotherapy After Chemo Safe for Common Lymphoma
10. Researchers confirm link between common cold and ear infection
11. How to effectively avoid many common complications and liver damage in bile duct exploration?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Common Medications May Harm Memory in Older People
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... Many families have long-term insurance that covers care for a family ... for care if the client has a cognitive impairment diagnosis. , “What this ... often waived, so the benefits from their insurance start immediately,” said Mechell Vieira, owner ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual Kids Fun Run brought out ... free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon Letko, is aimed at getting ... children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed event, which is all about ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Coveros, a leader in agile ... a contract by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Enterprise ... use of Agile methodologies in a consistent and high value manner across CMS ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... advisory services for healthcare compliance program management, will showcase a range of technology ... Association for Assisted Living (NCAL) Convention and Expo to be held October 14–18, ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The company has developed a ... and regulatory authorities worldwide. From Children’s to Adults 50+, every formula has been ... standard. , These products are also: Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Vegan, Soy Free, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/4/2017)... Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza vaccination should take ... communities across Massachusetts , Connecticut , ... through the end of the month. *Some exclusions apply ... ... by the end of October, according to the Centers for Disease Control ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... Mich. , Oct. 2, 2017 Diplomat ... 8th Day Software and Consulting, LLC , and ... 8th Day Software, based in Tennessee ... LLC. 8th Day expands EnvoyHealth,s service offerings for health ... development. "In an ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... Fla. , Oct. 2, 2017  AllianceRx Walgreens ... company formed by Walgreens and pharmacy benefit manager Prime ... its new brand, which included the unveiling of new ... , as well as at a few other ... the new brand to patients, some of whom will ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: