Common Medications With Anti
It is important that caregivers and family members be aware of all ingredients in medications that senior loved ones may be taking, to take note of their side effects and any potential interaction issues. Here is a list of some of the commonly used medications that contain anti-cholinergic properties, which may be contributing to memory loss:
For more information about the connection between memory loss and over-the-counter medication, you can read Leo Galland, M.D.s,;medical and educational blog on brain health.
Drug Abuse And Concentration
Drug abuse among students has been an ongoing problem for many years, and is further perpetuated by the belief that certain drugs can actually increase your concentration. Some students take prescription drugs for certain mental disorders, such as ADHD, without a prescription. This can lead to a long-term dependency on the drug, and the effects of chronic drug abuse often lead to an inability to concentrate exactly the opposite of the desired effect.
Another dangerous trend among students is the use of prescription painkillers, also taken without a prescription to obtain a high. Short-term effects of painkiller drug abuse include difficulty concentrating, which can lead to poor test results, not paying attention in class or on the job, and damaged relationships. Drug abuse is a serious condition that can be improved with treatment.
Treatment is designed for people of all ages, whether you are a student, in middle age, or even past retirement. Seeking treatment means that youll get support from trained professionals who can help you enter recovery from drug abuse, slowing the ongoing development of memory and concentration loss.
How Cholesterol Impacts Brain Health And Memory
Cholesterol has been demonized as a cause of heart disease, but its less known as an essential component of brain cells.
Cholesterol occurs in particularly high concentrations in the brain.
Your brain is;60% fat with much of that being cholesterol.
Without adequate cholesterol, your brain cells would die.
Cholesterol is needed to make neurotransmitters, chemicals that brain cells use to communicate with each other.
Neurotransmitters regulate your mood and your ability to focus, learn, remember, and handle stress.
Abnormal;neurotransmitter;activity is responsible for many nervous system diseases and psychiatric disorders.
Even your doctor may not know that high total cholesterol actually reduces the risk of dementia in the elderly.
” Nearly half of women who take statins eventually develop diabetes, a disease which greatly increases the risk for dementia.
But she certainly knows that cholesterol-lowering drugs can cause memory loss since this well-established side effect is listed on the label of every prescription bottle.
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Youre A Woman In Or Around Menopause
Among the many joys of perimenopause and the transition itself may be a small but significant cognitive impairment, according to research, that may be independent of age. Theories abound, but the bottom line is that we dont really know exactly why this happens, says Dr. Faubion.
The sorta kinda good news? Research has suggested that things go back to pre-menopause levels once youre through the ups and downs of the transition. That said, this is far from certain, especially if you have other factors, such as poverty or HIV. Women, especially women of color, with multiple risk factors may be more vulnerable to longer-lasting memory problems, says Dr. Faubion. Some of the women who were of highest risk in terms of socio-cultural stressors, with and without HIV, didnt look better on the other side of menopause, she says.
Whats more, perimenopause often brings on mood changes, such as anxiety and depression, and sleep problems, sometimes caused by symptoms like hot flashes. These can all affect memory. Which brings us to
A Fifth Type Of Medication That Affects Brain Function
Opiate pain medications. Unlike the other drugs mentioned above, opiates are not on the Beers list of medications that older adults should avoid. That said, they do seem to dampen thinking abilities a bit, even in long-term users. As far as I know, opiates are not thought to accelerate long-term cognitive decline.
- Commonly prescribed opiates;include hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, methadone, hydromorphone, and fentanyl.
- Tramadol is a weaker opiate with;weaker prescribing controls.
- Many geriatricians consider it more problematic than the classic Schedule II opiates listed above, as it interacts with a lot of medications and still affects brain function. Its a dirty drug, as one of my friends likes to say.
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Other Illegal Drugs That Cause Memory Loss
Other illegal drugs that cause memory loss include Ketamine , PCP , and Psilocybin . Any narcotic that has the potential to affect a person cognitively also has the potential to damage their memory functions. A person who engages in long-term abuse of a drug often increases their chances of experiencing damage that may or may not be reversible.
Where To Learn About Other Drugs That Affect Brain Function
Many other drugs that affect brain function, but they are either not used as often as the ones above, or seem to affect a minority of older adults.
Notably, there has been a lot of concern in the media about statins, but a meta-analysis published in 2015 could not confirm an association between statin use and increased cognitive impairment. In fact, a 2016 study found that statin use was associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimers disease.
This is not to say that statins arent overprescribed or riskier than we used to think. And its also quite possible that some people do have their thinking affected by statins. But if you are trying to eliminate medications that dampen brain function, I would recommend you focus on the ones I listed above first.
For a comprehensive list of medications identified as risky by the experts at the American Geriatrics Society, be sure to review the 2019 Beers Criteria.
You can also learn more about medications that increase fall risk in this article: 10 Types of Medications to Review if Youre Concerned About Falling.
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Which Common Medications Are Linked To Dementia
Emily Hong & Meg Seymour, PhD
You may have heard the media coverage that common medications may increase the risk for dementia. These medications include a variety of drugs, including antihistamines , some antidepressants, and drugs that help people with Parkinsons.1 What do these drugs all have in common, what do you need to know about them, and are there really risks to taking them?
The drugs in question are called anticholinergic medications. They block the action of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is important for memory, attention, and learning. Because of this connection to memory and the brain, the side effects of some anticholinergic drugs can include dementia-like symptoms, such as memory loss and confusion.;
In most cases, these side effects go away after people stop taking the medications.2 However, people taking some anticholinergic drugs may have an increased risk of developing dementia later.2, 3, 4 It is important to note that there are many types of anticholinergic drugs that treat many conditions. The risk may be specific to some drugs. So, its important to assess each type of anticholinergic drug separately.;
A 2019 study conducted in England included 284,343 patients.4 It looked at 56 different anticholinergic drugs to see their effects on risk for dementia. The study found that people had a higher risk for dementia if they took:;
Medications That May Cause Memory Loss
If one is increasingly forgetful or if one is having memory problems in his/her daily life then most likely he/she is suffering from a problem of memory loss. Memory loss can be either short-term or long-term. Short-term memory loss is forgetfulness of recent events while long-term memory loss is inability to retain memories that should be retained anywhere from a few days to the rest of life.
Most people consider memory loss as a sign of aging, but this is not always true. Aging is one of the causes, not the only cause of memory loss. Memory impairment can also occur due to side effect of some medications. One must be wise to choose a thing by comparing its effects versus side effects.
There are a number of medicines that can lead to memory loss; some of them are listed as follows.
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Less Common Causes Of Memory Loss
Other conditions that can lead to problems with memory include:
- Infection: Memory loss may be attributed to severe infection around the brain, including neurosyphilis, Gale says.
- Head injury: Symptoms of a mild brain injury may include confusion and trouble with memory and concentration, according to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
- Tumors: Memory and the ability to process information may be affected by brain tumors, the American Brain Tumor Association says. In addition, treatments for a tumor can affect your memory, including brain surgery, chemo, or radiation therapy.
- Alcoholism, Substance Abuse: Both alcoholism and drug abuse can affect memory, says Lyketsos. A study found that men who drank heavily showed signs of mental decline one to six years earlier than light drinkers.
Caution These 12 Drugs Can Cause Memory Loss
If you are worried about developing dementia or cognitive decline as you age, you can look at your family history or more importantly the medications you are taking. Unfortunately, there are 12 medications that are taken daily that can have a negative impact on the brain and memory.
You need to be mindful of the types of drugs you are prescribed or even taking over the counter. And you need to realize that if you take them for prolonged periods of time, then your memory could suffer. Lets look at the 12 medications you need to know that can cause memory loss.
If Youre Experiencing Forgetfulness Or Confusion Check Your Medicine Cabinet
by Dr. Armon B. Neel, Jr., February 9, 2016| 0
For a long time doctors dismissed;forgetfulness;and mental confusion as a normal part of aging. But scientists now know that;memory loss;as you get older is by no means inevitable. Indeed, the brain can grow new brain cells and reshape their connections throughout life.Most people are familiar with at least some of the things that can impair memory, including alcohol and drug abuse, heavy cigarette smoking, head injuries, stroke, sleep deprivation, severe stress, vitamin B12 deficiency, and illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
But what many people don’t realize is that many commonly prescribed drugs also can interfere with memory. Here are 10 of the top types of offenders.
Surprising Causes Of Memory Loss
If you have difficulty remembering things, your mind may make the leap to Alzheimers disease but thats not the only cause of memory loss.
You can’t find your keys or you forget an appointment. For many people in middle age or older, simple acts of forgetfulness like these are scary because they raise the specter of Alzheimer’s disease.
But Alzheimers is not the only health issue that can lead to forgetfulness, which is often treatable if you know the cause, according to the National Institute on Aging. Memory loss can happen at any age and for a number of reasons.
Patients might experience memory loss and describe their symptoms similarly, but a doctor can tease apart what parts of the brain are affected, says;Seth Gale, MD, a neurologist at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston.
He points out things like polypharmacy , significant depression, and poor sleep that can lead to memory complaints. When you drill down and find out what is actually happening with brain function, you can reassure someone. They have the capacity to learn and store information but because of their overloaded mental resources, they are having trouble, says Dr. Gale.
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The Capacity Of Short
Your short-term memory has a limited capacity. Certain studies conducted by the famous George Miller in the 1950s are often used as the guideline for determining how much capacity the short-term memory has. It is estimated that working memory can hold five to nine items at a time. However, newer studies have shown that in different age groups, the number is much lower, around four to five items.
The type and characteristics of the information also make a difference in how much can be stored in short-term memory. There have also been studies that have shown that short-term memory capacity and how long information remains in short-term memory can be increased if the information is said aloud.
Mirapex For Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless Leg Syndrome is difficult to live with as it interferes with your sleep. And that is why drugs that cause dopamine, the pleasure chemical to become activated. Therefore, the side effects of this drug can include memory loss, hallucinations, confusion, and increasing unhealthy compulsive behaviors such as overeating.
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How Benzodiazepines Are Drugs That Cause Memory Loss
Other drugs, including benzodiazepines, interfere with the transfer of information from short-term to long-term memory. For this reason, benzodiazepines are often used as anesthesia for medical procedures: They cause us to forget pain and discomfort. Sleeping pills, known as Z drugs, blunt memory in a similar way.;
Youre Not Sleeping Well Or Enough
Whatever the reason youre not getting enough good quality sleep, poor shuteye can affect your memory in a big way, says Dr. Petersen. During the deeper stages of sleep, certain proteins are cleared out of the brain, says he says. But if you never get to the stages of sleep when these housekeeping activities are thought to be taking place, perhaps toxic substances can build up in the brain, Dr. says, and affect the way these nerves work. Talk to your doctor about possible sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea for which you can be treatedimproving sleep can boost your alertness throughout the day, which helps memory, says Dr. Petersen.
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Beware: These 10 Medications Can Cause Memory Loss
Forgetfulness and mental confusion are often associated with aging, but the fact is, scientists have found that memory loss is not an inevitable part of aging. There are many factors that play a role in memory impairment, including alcohol and drug abuse, heavy smoking, head injuries, stroke, sleep deprivation, severe stress and illnesses such as Alzheimers disease and depression. Some of these are commonly known to affect memory, but there is one huge factor causing memory loss that is often overlooked. Many commonly prescribed drugs can interfere with memory. If youre currently taking medication and are having trouble remembering things, one of these may be the culprit.
Incontinence Drugs Or Anticholinergics
Anticholinergics are meant to help overactive bladder symptoms and their purpose is to stop the action of acetylcholine which is a chemical responsible for bodily functions. This includes the functions of the bladder. But blocking this chemical messenger will also have a negative effect on cognitive function and memory.
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Why The Drugs Affect Your Mind
Both anticholinergics and benzodiazepines affect the activity of neurotransmitterschemical messengers that work in the central nervous systembut the drugs work in slightly different ways.
Anticholinergic drugs block the action of acetylcholine. In the brain, acetylcholine is involved in learning and memory. In the rest of the body, it stimulates the autonomic nervesthose that regulate contractions of blood vessels, airways, and our cardiovascular and digestive systems. The strongest anticholinergic drugs include some antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, medications to control overactive bladder, and sleeping pills.
Benzodiazepines boost another neurotransmitter’s effectiveness. They make gamma-aminobutyric acid which slows the activity of neurons in the brain-more potent. For that reason, they are used to calm anxiety and help people sleep.
New Findings On Statin
A study in JAMA Internal Medicine may help to explain the controversial connection between cholesterol-lowering medications and memory loss. Researchers scrutinized health records of more than 11 million people who saw their primary care doctors from 1987 to 2013. They compared reports of memory problems by three groups of people:
483,000 who were prescribed a statin to lower their cholesterol
26,000 who were given another type of cholesterol-lowering drug to lower cholesterol, such as a fibrate or niacin
483,000 who didn’t take any cholesterol drug.
People who took any kind of cholesterol druga statin or some other typewere nearly four times more likely to report memory loss right after starting on the drug, compared with people who didn’t take any kind of cholesterol drug.
Does this mean all cholesterol drugs, not just statins, affect memory? The researchers say this is possible. However, it is unlikely, given the fundamental differences in how statin and nonstatin cholesterol drugs work.
Another possible explanation is a well-known phenomenon called detection bias. People who start taking a new prescription drug are, not surprisingly, more likely to talk to their doctors and therefore have a chance to report any changes in memory they may notice. In other words, it’s more likely that the reported memory problems were coincidences, and not caused by taking cholesterol-lowering drugs.
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