January 27, 2015
A large study links a significantly increased risk for developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, to taking commonly used medications with anticholinergiceffects at higher doses or for a longer time.
Many older people take these medications, which include nonprescription diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and related drugs.
JAMA Internal Medicine published the report, called “Cumulative Use of Strong Anticholinergic Medications and Incident Dementia.”
It’s been known for some time that memory or concentration problems in the elderly might be caused by common medications used to treat insomnia, anxiety, itching or allergies, according to a 2012 study reported by KurzweilAI.