Anticholinergics Increase Dementia Risk in Middle-Aged, Older Adults

Henrietta Brewer
June 26, 2019

Doctors prescribe anticholinergic drugs to treat conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bladder conditions, allergies, gastrointestinal disorders and symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

According to the results of the study, the adjusted OR for dementia climbed from 1.06 (95% CI, 1.03 to1.09) in the lowest overall anticholinergic exposure category to 1.49 (95% CI, 1.44 to 1.54) in the highest category, juxtaposed to no anticholinergic drug prescriptions in the 1 to 11 years before the index date. This study was funded by the national institute for Health Research and the research regarding the drugs and dementia was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

According to the academics, an individual who is exposed to over 1,095 daily doses of anticholinergic within a span of 10 years is at around 50% increased risk of dementia.

The researcher also advised the people taking these medications to continue consuming it until their doctor asks them to stop taking them.


The researchers moreover took a shut keep aside an advise to at who modified into once diagnosed with dementia and chanced on that 58,769 of the patients had a dementia prognosis.

New research by scientists from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom has analyzed the connection between a specific class of drugs and the danger of dementia. They collected this data from the QResearch database. "This is important information for physicians to know when considering whether to prescribe these drugs", Coupland added.

These patients had used strong anticholinergic medication daily for three years or more. The medicines can cause short-term confusion and memory loss, although it is uncertain whether long-term use increases the risk of dementia. For example, it's possible that the drugs were prescribed to dementia patients to help treat very early symptoms of the disease.

Among these, the most much of the time prescribed medications were antidepressants, against vertigo medications, and bladder antimuscarinic drugs (for the treatment of overactive bladders).


"Moreover, deprescribing trials can evaluate attainable harms of stopping anticholinergic medicines, such as worsening indicators of depression, incontinence, or wretchedness, as well to the aptitude unintended develop larger in acute health care utilization", Campbell, Holden and Boustani wrote in the editorial. If [people] have concerns, then they should discuss them with their doctor to consider the pros and cons of the treatment they are receiving. Though the link found between the drugs and development of dementia appears strong, the researchers noted that their findings are associations and do not show that the drugs cause dementia.

"The risks of this type of medication should be carefully considered by healthcare professionals alongside the benefits when the drugs are prescribed and alternative treatments should be considered where possible", said lead researcher Prof.

In their new research, which looked at data from tens of thousands of participants, the researchers concluded that anticholinergics may increase a person's risk of developing dementia.

"I spend a lot of my time in the memory disorder clinic seeing geriatric patients and taking people off medications, mostly ones that have anticholinergic properties, and many times there can be another drug out there that has less anticholinergic impact or is non-anticholinergic that may work", Scharre said.


"These findings also highlight the importance of carrying out regular medication reviews", Coupland added.

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