Researchers identified the classes of drugs that are at high risk for dementia. These medicines include those used to treat depression, urinary incontinence and Parkinson's disease. Joe Raedle | Getty Images )
It has long been recognized that the long-term use of certain medications can negatively impact cognition and increase the risk of dementia for a person. However, results of a new study study have identified certain classes of drugs that cause the degenerative state.
In the study published in the British Medical Journal on Wednesday, researchers discovered the anticholinergics that may increase risk of dementia. Anticholinergics
Anticholinergics work by blocking the action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is released to send signals to other cells. These drugs are prescribed in the United States to 20 to 50 percent of older adults who have a variety of neurological, gastrointestinal, psychiatric, respiratory and muscular disorders.
Using data from the UK Clinical Practice Research Database to examine the risk of dementia among nearly 350,000 adults, the researchers found that individuals who used certain types of anticholinergics, such as those used to treat depression, urinary incontinence and Parkinson's disease at least a year or more had about 30 percent increased risk of dementia.
Those who took other classes of anticholinergics, such as those used for gastrointestinal problems, on the other hand, had no increased chances of developing the neurological disorder.
"A robust association between some classes of anticholinergics and future dementia incidence was observed, which could be caused by a class-specific effect or by drugs used for very early dementia symptoms," researcher Louise Robinson, director of the University's Institute for Aging Newcastle, and colleagues wrote in their study
antidepressants and dementia
Researchers said that they had found a link between anticholinergic antidepressants and dementia, even if these drugs were taken 20 years before diagnosis.The commonly prescribed anticholinergic antidepressants include dosulepine, paroxetine, and amitriptyline.
Figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that every eighth person in the United States has used antidepressant for over 1
"A quarter of people who took antidepressants last month reported having taken them for ten years or more," the CDC said.
Identification of drugs associated with increased risk of dementia
The results of the new study suggest that if you have a risk of developing dementia, this risk increases with the long-term use of certain anticholinergic drugs. Robinson said the findings help physicians decide which medicines can be safely used over the long term as they age.
"This study provides important new evidence for the role of certain drugs in influencing cognitive impairment in the elderly," the researcher said.  See Now: 27 Most Inspirational and Motivational Quotes from Leading Technology Leaders
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