These commonly prescribed drugs may increase dementia risk

More than 50 million people worldwide are affected by dementia and this number is estimated to be 132 million by 2050.

Recently, researchers from the University of East Anglia have found that long-term use of anticholinergic antidepressants and drugs prescribed for bladder conditions and Parkinson’s may increase dementia risk.

The team found that these drugs are linked with dementia, even they were taken many years before a diagnosis.

On the other hand, other medications, such anti-histamines and those used for abdominal cramps, were not found to be linked to dementia.

Previous research has shown that anticholinergic drugs are used to treat a variety of conditions. They work by blocking a key messenger (neurotransmitter) in the body called acetylcholine.

In the study, the research team analyzed the medical records of 40,770 patients aged over 65 diagnosed with dementia.

They compared these records to the records of 283,933 people without dementia.

The team focused on links between different classes of anticholinergic medications and dementia diagnosis.

The results showed that there was a higher dementia diagnosis rate among patients using anticholinergic antidepressants, and anticholinergic medication for bladder conditions and Parkinson’s.

This suggests that doctors should consider long-term anti-cholinergic effects when prescribing.

The team also suggest that patients should continue taking their medicines until they have consulted their doctor or pharmacist.

This is the largest study to see the long-term impact of anticholinergic drug use in relation to dementia.

The study is published in the BMJ.

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