MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — A new study is sounding the alarm for patients taking dozens of common prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Researchers find taking a particular class of drug, anticholinergics, increases the risk of developing mild thinking and memory problems.
The study shows there are around 100 of these types of drugs in widespread use. These medications treat everything from colds, to high blood pressure, to depression.
The study in Neurology finds that people with genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are particularly susceptible to these issues. Overall, scientists reveal patients with no cognitive issues are 47 percent more likely to develop a mental impairment if they’re taking at least one anticholinergic drug.
“Our findings suggest that reducing the use of anticholinergic drugs before people develop any cognitive problems may be an important way to prevent the negative consequences of these drugs on thinking skills, especially for people who have an elevated risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease,” study author Lisa Delano-Wood from the University of California, San Diego says in a press release.