Navigation Links
Dementia drugs may put some patients at risk, Queen's study shows
Date:5/27/2009

Kingston, ON Side effects associated with several commonly-prescribed dementia drugs may be putting elderly Canadians at risk, says Queen's University Geriatrics professor Sudeep Gill.

Cholinesterase inhibitors (Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl) are often prescribed for people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias because they increase the level of a chemical in the brain that seems to help memory. Although such drugs are known to provoke slower heart rates and fainting episodes, the magnitude of these risks has not been clear until now.

"This is very troubling, because the drugs are marketed as helping to preserve memory and improve function," says Dr. Gill, who is an Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care Career Scientist, working at Providence Care's St. Mary's of the Lake Hospital in Kingston. "But for a subset of people, the effect appears to be the exact opposite."

In a large study using province-wide data, Dr. Gill and his colleagues discovered that people who used cholinesterase inhibitors were hospitalized for fainting almost twice as often as people with dementia who did not receive these drugs. Experiencing a slowed heart-rate was 69 per cent more common amongst cholinesterase inhibitor users. In addition, people taking the dementia drugs had a 49 per cent increased chance of having permanent pacemakers implanted and an 18 per cent increased risk of hip fractures.

Unfortunately, Dr. Gill continues, this class of drugs is one of the few effective dementia treatments available today. Acknowledging that these drugs do have an important role in the management of dementia, he suggests that people who are already at a higher risk (for example, those who have had previous episodes of fainting or slowed heart rate) may want to ask their doctors to reassess the value of taking the drugs.

Slowing of the heart rate from cholinesterase inhibitors, if significant, may cause a person to faint and suffer fall-related injuries such as a broken hip often debilitating and sometimes fatal for seniors. However, many physicians aren't aware of the connection between these problems and the dementia drugs, Dr. Gill notes.

If the association with dementia drugs is not identified, people who faint may be prescribed a permanent pacemaker: an invasive procedure that can involve serious complications for seniors. Both the injuries incurred from falling and the risks from pacemaker implants are "downstream consequences" of not recognizing this drug-induced phenomenon.

"This study does not suggest that dementia patients shouldn't take these drugs," says Dr. Gill. "What's critical is that patients, caregivers and physicians be aware of the potential side effects, and weigh these risks carefully against the potential for beneficial effects."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jeff Drake
jeff.drake@queensu.ca
613-533-2877
Queen's University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Early Weight Loss in Women Linked to Dementia
2. Smokers More Likely to Develop Dementia
3. PA Soldiers and Sailors Home Dedicates 32-Bed Dementia/Alzheimers Unit
4. Antidepressant shows early promise in treating agitation and psychotic symptoms of dementia
5. Antidepressant as Good as Antipsychotics for Dementia
6. Falling Platelet Counts May Signal HIV-Linked Dementia
7. Tooth loss, dementia may be linked, JADA study suggests
8. Building efficient, effective, locally sensitive solutions for dementia care
9. Editorial says primary care system must change how it approaches dementia
10. Tooth Troubles Could Raise Dementia Risk
11. Dementia in More Educated Hits Later But Harder
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... 28, 2016 , ... ProText Layouts is a set of 30 self-animating kinetic ... With ProText Layouts, video editors can create an energetic typography video with incredible ease. ... texts. Creating text-based videos have never been easier. , ProText Layouts includes 30 ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... CastCoverz!, America’s ... with AquaShieldUSA, the country's oldest waterproof cast protector . As the largest ... the largest selection of daily, night, weatherproof and waterproof covers for most orthopedic ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... ... University of New England President Danielle N. Ripich is pleased to announce ... In addition to his role as director of Athletics, McDonald will oversee a ... space of just one year Jack has distinguished himself by his commitment to our ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... The ARRS ... events, attracting medical professionals from around the globe who attended a week’s worth ... Ceremonies Sunday, April 17 included the introduction of the 2016 ARRS Distinguished Educator, ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... Trinity Health, ... Kids, a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its ... that can help reduce tobacco use. The initiative brings together two organizations committed ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... TOKYO , April 28, 2016 ... and Ste phen ... ArisGlobal®, a leading provider of cloud-based software solutions for ... and Pharmacovigilance team to bring a wealth of insight to a ... unparalleled pharmacovigilance knowledge. George Phillips joined ArisGlobal ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... 28, 2016 New market ... is a report that provides an overview of ... pipelines by identifying new targets and MOAs to ... Profiles discussed in this H1 2016 Osteoarthritis Pipeline ... AbbVie Inc., Abiogen Pharma S.p.A., Ablynx NV, Achelios ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... April 27, 2016 Elekta today ... platform will be the focal point of seven scientific ... European Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology, taking place April ... a state-of-the-art radiotherapy system and a high-field MRI scanner ... see the patient,s anatomy in real time. The MR-linac ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: