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These common medications increase the risk of dementia by 50%

Anticholinergics are medicines prescribed for premature urinary bladder, depression, Parkinson's disease or epilepsy. According to a British study, people over 55 who take the most, would increase the risk of dementia by almost 50%.

There are about 900,000 people in France Alzheimer's disease and 200,000 new cases dementia are diagnosed every year. If old age, heredity, but alsohypertension. diabetes, can play a role in Alzheimer's dementia, it can be wondered whether certain drugs promote the disease.

anticholinergics are molecules who are opposed to actionacetylcholine, And neurotransmitter nervous system. These medicines are prescribed for different conditions: for lung problems, allergiesproblems with bladder, gastrointestinal disorders, Parkinson's disease… But anticholinergics have short-term side effects, causing loss of memory and confusion. Do they have long-term effects on brain ?

To find out, researchers from the University of Nottingham have analyzed data from more than 58,000 people who suffered from them dementiaand 225,000 witnesses. Participants, older than 55, were on average 82 years of age.

In the period of one to eleven years ago diagnosis 57% of patients were taking anticholinergics compared to 51% of controls. On average, people who had a diagnosis of dementia received six recipes for these medications, compared to four for control. The most prescribed medications were antidepressants, dizziness, and antimuscarinic drugs for pre-existing urinary bladder problems.

Anticholinergics increase the risk of dementia

The results of research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine In general, there is a risk of dementia associated with anticholinergic drugs: for those most consumed, the risk of dementia increased by 49% compared to those who did not ever take it.

Specifically, the drugs to which this risk relates were antidepressants, antipsychotics, medicines against Parkinson's diseaseepilepsy or bladder disorders. On the other hand, there seems to be no risk associated with takingantihistamines or medicines for gastrointestinal disorders.

The affinity of anticholinergics and dementia is stronger when the disease is diagnosed before 80 years. If a causal link occurs, this would mean that about 10% of dementia was diagnosed in the United Kingdom due to anti-oligo-drugs! The study suggests that these medicines should be carefully prescribed in middle-aged and elderly people.

In a a university press releaseTom Dening, who participated in this paper, explained that, despite these risks, "It's important that patients who take such medicines do not stop abruptly, because that can be much more damaging. If the patients have problems, they should talk to your doctor about it for the benefits and disadvantages of the treatment they receive. "

What to remember

  • Anticholinergics are prescribed drugs in many cases: Parkinson's, depression, epilepsy, allergies, incontinence …
  • They have short-term side effects, with loss of memory.
  • Some anticholinergics increase the risk of dementia in the long run.

Medications that cause Alzheimer's disease

Inserm article published on February 16, 2006

Potentially anti-cholinergic drugs can cause moderate impairment of certain cognitive (or intellectual) abilities in the elderly, particularly affecting reaction time, current or delayed memory or language. This is the conclusion of Karen Ritchie and her team (Inserm Research Team 361) diseases Nervous System: Epidemiological and Clinical Research, Montpellier).

Details of these results are published over the Internet British Medical Journal.

Anti-cholinergic drugs are usually prescribed in elderly people for the treatment of diseases such as urinary incontinence, Parkinson's disease or certain psychiatric disorders. These compounds, some of which may be available without a prescription, are potential inhibitors of the transmission of chemical or neurotransmitters in the brain, such asacetylcholine, especially in memory or learning.

Marie-Laure Ancelin and Sylvaine Artero on Karen Ritchie's team were accompanied by 372 people over the age of 60 who did not have dementia. These people are asking about their current health problems, the past, and the use of drugs. Their intellectual effect was tested.

About 10% of respondents in this sample have taken anticholinergic drugs for at least one year. Drug users had less cognitive abilities than non-usersEighty percent of respondents had moderately intellectual damage (compared to 35% in the group of people who did not consume it).

It has been shown that taking anticholinergics is a major factor contributing to the prediction of cognitive deteriorationIndeed, taking into account others risk factors Known cognitive impairment (age, gender, degree of education, hypertension), the risk of deteriorating cognitive abilities remains 5 times higher in people who consume it. On the other hand, the analysis did not reveal, with a fall of 8 years, a significant difference in the risk of dementia between users and non-users of anticholinergics.

Given these results, scientists evaluate itIt is important to alert the doctors of these drugs to their possible side effects.

In addition, authors point out an absurd situation that could lead to poor consideration of these results. Indeed, identifying changes in cognitive abilities often leaves doubts about initial dementia and thus encourages the physician to prescribe this dementia treatment. In this case, people with moderate anticholinergic damage would be pro-cholinergic drugs to prevent the effects of anti-cholinergics.

To conclude, researchers suggest that physicians accurately determine the status of an elderly person with moderate impairment of intellectual ability (whether or not using antiholinergics) before considering dementia.

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