These drugs linked to post-COVID dementia in older people

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In a study from Northwell Health in Glen Oaks, scientists found pre-COVID-19 psychotropic medication use is associated with higher risk for incident dementia following hospitalization for COVID-19 (post-COVID dementia) in older adults.

Previous research has shown that people 65 and older who contracted COVID were nearly 70% more likely overall to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s within a year of their infection.

The elderly fared even worse, with the risk of Alzheimer’s doubling in COVID patients who were over 85.

There are five main types of psychotropic medications: antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, stimulants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers. Antidepressants are used to treat depression.

They examined the association between pre-COVID psychotropic medication use and one-year incidence of dementia in 1,755 older people (≥65 years) hospitalized with COVID-19.

The researchers found that the one-year incidence of post-COVID dementia was 12.7%.

Pre-COVID psychotropic medications and delirium were strongly linked to a higher one-year incidence of post-COVID dementia.

When the team’s analysis focused on 423 patients with at least one neurological or psychiatric diagnosis at the time of COVID-19 admission, the association between psychotropic medications and dementia risk remained robust.

The strongest associations with post-COVID dementia across different drug classes were seen for antipsychotics and mood stabilizers/anticonvulsants.

The team says it is important to note that this study is no way recommending people should stop taking antipsychotics, but simply that clinicians need to factor in a patient’s medication history while considering post-COVID aftereffects.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about Vitamin D deficiency linked to severe COVID-19, and Mediterranean diets could help people recover after COVID infection.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that cranberries could help boost memory, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

The study was conducted by Yun Freudenberg-Hua et al and published in Frontiers in Medicine.

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