You might be taking some of the following medications for hay fever and allergies: Claritin, Zyrtec, Benadryl or Dimetapp.
Perhaps you’re on antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs: Zanax, Abilify, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Valium, Paxil or Seroquel.
Heartburn or GERD? You might be taking: Zantac, Tagamet or Librax.
Can’t sleep? Unisom or any over-the-counter antihistamines or sleep medications containing Diphenhydramine.
These and many other common medications used in treatment for high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, blood thinners and ulcers could contribute to a shrinking brain and possibly Alzheimer’s.
A recent study by the Indiana University School of Medicine, and published in JAMA Neurology, found that these medications inhibit an important brain chemical, acetylcholine, which is crucial to transmission in electrical impulses between cells. PET scans were used to monitor brain metabolism of acetylcholine. MRIs measured brain shrinkage. Nearly half of all Alzheimer’s patients receive medications which worsen their symptoms.
Acetylcholine also acts within the central nervous system which controls motivation, arousal and attention. It has been shown that deterioration of pathways related to synthesis of acetylcholine could be a contributor to Alzheimer’s.
Anticholinergic drug users also showed lower levels of glucose metabolism — a biomarker for brain activity — in both the overall brain and in the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with memory and which has been identified as affected early by Alzheimer’s disease.
When these drugs are taken or prescribed for those over the age of 50 and the elderly, increased episodes of confusion have been observed. The more damaging drugs, called anticholinergics, when taken continuously for 60 days or more, revealed higher instances of dementia and brain shrinkage.
CLICK HERE for the list of ratings of common medications.