Common medication associated with cognitive decline in elderly

Jan 26, 2009

A study published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggested that the use of certain medications in elderly populations may be associated with cognitive decline. The study examined the effects of exposure to anticholinergic medications, a type of drug used to treat a variety of disorders that include respiratory and gastrointestinal problems, on over 500 relatively healthy men aged 65 years or older with high blood pressure.

Older people often take several drugs to treat multiple health conditions. As some of these drugs also have properties that affect neurotransmitters in the brain that are important to overall brain function, the researchers examined the total effects of all medications taken by the patients, both prescription and over-the-counter, that were believed to affect the function of a particular neurotransmitter, acetylcholine.

The findings show that chronic use of medications with anticholinergic properties may have detrimental effects on memory and the ability to perform daily living tasks, such as shopping and managing finances. Participants showed deficits in both memory and daily function when they took these medications over the course of a year. The degree of memory difficulty and impairment in daily living tasks also increased proportionally to the total amount of drug exposure, based on a rating scale the authors developed to assess anticholinergicity of the drugs.

According to study co-author Dr. Ling Han of the Yale University Department of Internal Medicine, elderly patients may be more vulnerable to these types of medications due to neurological and pharmacokinetical changes related to aging.

This study is published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. www.blackwellpublishing.com/jgs

Source: Wiley

Explore further: FDA warns of compounded drug recall by Texas firm

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

EU regulator: Morning-after pill OK for all women

1 hour ago

(AP)—A commonly used morning-after pill is suitable for use by heavier women, the European Medicines Agency said Thursday after a review of the evidence sparked by the French manufacturer's declaration that the drugs didn't ...

Physicians warned about counterfeit medical devices

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Physicians should be aware of the prevalence and serious consequences associated with use of counterfeit medical devices, according to a letter to the editor published online July 20 in Lasers in ...

Zydelig approved for three types of blood cancer

6 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Zydelig (idelalisib) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat relapsed forms of blood cancer, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (FL) ...

Journal raises concern about blood-thinning drug

19 hours ago

A medical journal raised concerns Wednesday about a blood-thinning drug widely used by people at risk of stroke, accusing its manufacturer of concealing safety data and regulators of laxness.

User comments : 0