Home Health Common drug may be dementia risk | News – The Times

Common drug may be dementia risk | News – The Times

11 min read

Anticholinergic drugs help to contract and relax muscles, but may harm memory and thinking in older patientsALAMY

Doctors should think twice about prescribing drugs commonly used to treat depression and bladder problems after they were linked to an increased risk of dementia, scientists said.

A study found that there was nearly a 50 per cent greater risk of dementia among patients aged 55 and over who had been prescribed strong anticholinergic drugs for three years or more.

This class of drug helps to contract and relax muscles. They work by blocking acetylcholine, a chemical that transmits messages in the nervous system. Guidelines recommend that they should be avoided for frail older people because they can harm memory and thinking. It is still not clear whether these changes are permanent but scientists said the new research bolstered the case for prescriptions for middle-aged…

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