Long-term use of some common prescription drugs may be associated with an increased risk of dementia.
Researchers found a statistically significant association between dementia and the intake of anticholinergics, particularly antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiparkinsonian and anti-epileptic drugs, and bladder antimuscarinics used to treat urinary incontinence, according to an observational study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine has been.
Anticholinergics block a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the nervous system.
Researchers analyzed data from 2004 to 2016 on 284,343 patients in England aged 55 and over. They found that "the likelihood of dementia is increased by almost 50%", which is related to exposure to more than 1
Researchers said that antidepressants, antipsychotics, medicines to treat Parkinson's disease, antiepileptic drugs, and drugs to treat urinary incontinence are associated with the risk of dementia.
"Side effects should be considered alongside the benefits of prescribing these medications, and alternative treatments should be considered where possible," the authors wrote. "In people diagnosed with dementia before the age of 80, we noted a greater increase in risk, indicating that anticholinergics should be used with caution in middle-aged and elderly people."
Researchers stated that they could not establish a causal link. If it were causal, it would mean that about one in ten dementia diagnoses could be culled to anticholinergic exposure.
The latest study was not the first to establish links between anticholinergic drugs and dementia. For example, a 2015 study published in the same journal found that "a higher cumulative use of anticholinergics is associated with an increased risk of dementia."
An estimated 5.8 million people in the US – 5.6 million of whom are 65 years or older – are living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC, the prevalence is projected to rise to 14 million by 2060, with the Hispanic and African-American population recording the largest increase.
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Demographic-related economic costs rose from about $ 279.6 billion in 2000 to $ 948 billion in 2016.
A study by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013 found that the annual demographic societal cost per person in 2010 was $ 41,689 to $ 56,290, depending on the calculation. Costs included home care, expenses, home care, and Medicare.
A separate invited commentary, also published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine, praised the accuracy of the new findings, but warned that further evidence was needed.