Anticholinergic drugs are used to treat depression and psychosis, bladder and gastrointestinal conditions, allergies and symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
However, in a study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, people over the age of 55 who use strong anticholinergic drugs every day for more than three years are 50% more likely to develop dementia.
"This study provides additional evidence that doctors should be careful to prescribe certain drugs that have anticholinergic properties," said Tom Dening, one of the authors and director of the Center for Dementia at Nottingham University.
"It is important, however, that patients who take medicines of this type not only stop them abruptly, as this may be much more harmful. If patients have concerns, they should consult their doctor to look at the benefits and disadvantages of treatment they need to get.
Researchers analyzed the medical data of nearly 59,000 dementia who were collected between January 2004 and January 2016. From the records analyzed, the average age of patients was 82 years and about 63% were women.
Approximately 57% of patients in the study received a prescription for at least one strong anticholinergic drug, one to 11 years before being diagnosed with dementia. Although the link between drugs and the development of dementia seems strong, researchers note that their findings are associations and do not indicate that the drugs cause dementia.
Doctors prescribe anticholinergic drugs for the treatment of conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bladder conditions, allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, and Parkinson's disease symptoms.
The study also has some limitations; For example, some patients may not have taken the prescribed medicine as directed, so levels of anticholinergic exposure may have been mis-classified.
"More research is needed to confirm whether the relationship between these drugs and the risk of dementia is causal or not. These medicines are prescribed for a number of health issues, and any questions patients may have about them should be discussed with their doctors, "says Martin Rosor, National Director of Dementia Research at NIJC.
According to experts, these health conditions can be as severe as seizures or psychoses, so it is extremely important to weigh the pros and cons of taking this medicine with your health care provider.
"I spent much of my time in the memory department, I see old patients, and I take medications from people, mainly those with anticholinergic properties, and many times there may be another medicine that has less anticholinergic effects or no D- Dr. Douglas Shar, director of the Department of Cognitive Neurology at the Waxner Medical Center at Ohio State University in Columbus, told CNN.
"This is a discussion of risk and benefits … so talk to your doctor," added Shar, who was not involved in the study.
Carol Cupped, a researcher at the University of Nottingham and lead author of the study, added: "Health professionals should carefully consider the risks of this type of medication as well as benefits when prescribing medication and alternative treatments should be considered. such as other types of antidepressants or alternative treatments for bladder condition. "
Posted in collaboration with Newsweek / Posted in collaboration with Newsweek