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Old 24 April 2016, 02:26 PM
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Default Popular drugs for colds, allergies, sleep linked to dementia

Taking over-the-counter medications for colds, flu and allergies may seem harmless, but a new study warns that certain drugs are linked to an increased risk of dementia.

The class of medications, called anticholinergics, are sold over-the-counter and by prescription for many chronic conditions. They include sleep aids, hay fever pills, and flu symptom relievers.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/popular-...d-to-dementia/

The paper cited: http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/arti...icleid=2514553

Benadryl and Tylenol PM are some of the most common anticholinergics.
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Old 24 April 2016, 04:27 PM
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Since it's a correlation, does anyone know whether they were able to rule out the cause being related to the need for the medication, rather than the taking of the medication? And how big of an effect is it? Is it a small increased risk, or possibly an actual major cause?
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Old 25 April 2016, 01:10 AM
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Well, I discovered that Wellbutrin and Abilify are not anticholinergic, so that's a relief. However I discovered all sorts of other problems they can cause in the research. Yay?
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Old 25 April 2016, 05:56 AM
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I read the original study a few months ago, and was a little alarmed, as I take a lot of those drugs, but my takeaway was they have no idea whether there's a causal relationship at all. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest to learn that insomnia, for instance, predisposes one to dementia, and that those who take antihistamines to fall asleep are at risk because they aren't getting enough sleep and therefore should take more drugs, not less/fewer.

That said, I'm a huge fan of Zyrtec these days. It's much more expensive than Benadryl, but it doesn't seem to have any side effects for me, it's much more effective on my allergies, and hey, it's not linked to dementia. So I guess I have all the justification I need to splurge.
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Old 25 April 2016, 08:43 AM
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Basically they found a small increase in mental impairment in seniors taking strong anticholinergics chronically for many years. There is no evidence that they confer any risk to younger people taking them. The association was only statistically significant in the highest dose range for the longest period.

So this might be a real association, but it is only in seniors taking very high doses of them every day for years and years. Another example of the media exaggerating a real science story into a huge crisis.

A fairly comprehensive breakdown of the study and what the results actually mean.
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Old 25 April 2016, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
That said, I'm a huge fan of Zyrtec these days. It's much more expensive than Benadryl, but it doesn't seem to have any side effects for me, it's much more effective on my allergies, and hey, it's not linked to dementia. So I guess I have all the justification I need to splurge.
I've been taking Zyrtec for years. Benadryl et al. never worked as well as Zyrtec does (I used to need an additional steroidal nasal inhaler with the others). It's the major item I buy with my HSA (yes, I know it's OTC, but I have a prescription of my medical need).

Seaboe
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Old 25 April 2016, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silkenray View Post
So this might be a real association, but it is only in seniors taking very high doses of them every day for years and years. Another example of the media exaggerating a real science story into a huge crisis.

A fairly comprehensive breakdown of the study and what the results actually mean.
That link is talking about older results. It's from last year. The OP study was published a few days ago.

It looks like it's not necessarily high doses. The CBS link quotes a medical instructor at Cornell:

Quote:
"We know based on previous studies that as little use as 60 days, or even 90 days non-consecutively over the course of a lifetime, can be associated with these risks. It's not every night for 30 years, it's sometimes or sporadically," she said.
This quotation also refers to older results, which seems to conflict with what the NHS said last year. (Not arguing here, just putting that out there).

Last edited by Mr. Billion; 25 April 2016 at 03:23 PM.
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