In a large UK study it was concluded that dementia may be linked to some antidepressants after a long-term use, the researchers said on 26th April 2018 this Thursday. Although they were unable to conclude that the cause was medications.
The largest and most comprehensive study on the long-term effects of anticholinergic medicines, a class of medicines commonly prescribed in the United States and the United Kingdom as antidepressants and medicines for the study of incontinence, found that their use is associated with an increased risk of dementia, even though it was 20 Years before the diagnosis of a cognitive impairment lasts.
An international research team from the US, UK, and Ireland has recorded in the medical records of 40,770 patients over the age of 65 and diagnosed with dementia compared to 283,933 records covering more than 27 million older people without dementia.
The researchers found a higher incidence of dementia in patients who were prescribed anticholinergic antidepressants, anticholinergics for medicines and anticholinergic bladder for Parkinson’s disease in the elderly who are prescribed these medications.
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Dementia increases with increased exposure to anticholinergics.
“Anticholinergics and the Risk of Dementia: Case Control Study,” published in the BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal), an international medical journal.
“Anticholinergics, which blocks acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the nervous system, has been implicated as a potential cause of cognitive impairment,”
said Regenstrief Institute Investigator and University Center of Indiana Aging Research Noll Campbell, pharmacist, MS, co-author of the new BMJ study.
“This study is large enough to evaluate the long-term effect and find that the damage can be experienced years before the diagnosis of dementia.”
Dr. Campbell is also an Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Practice at Purdue University College of Pharmacy.
“These results clearly demonstrate that physicians should carefully consider the patient’s anticholinergic burden on patients and weigh up other options,”
said co-author Malaz Boustani, MD, MPH, Regenstrief Institute study and researchers IU Center for Research on Aging.
Dr. Boustani is the founder of the IE Center for Innovation and Implementation of Health Sciences and Clinical Institutes Translatorias Indiana and Richard M. Fairbanks Professor Research at the IU School of Medicine in Aging.
“Physicians should consider all anticholinergics, including prescription medicines, to take patients of all ages and determine safe anticholinergics to brainchild people with an interest in preserving the forms of health,” said Dr. Boustani.
The study, conducted by the University of East Anglia and funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, both in the UK, used to research data from Datalink’s clinical practice: diagnoses, recommendations and anonymized prescription files for more than 11 million patients in 674 primary, Nursing practices across the UK. The data are largely representative of the British population in terms of age, gender and ethnicity.
“This research is very important because an estimated 350 million people are affected by depression. It is estimated that the conditions of the bladder treatment requires more than 13 percent of men and 30 percent of women said the United Kingdom and the United States”,
The study’s principal investigator, George Savva, Ph.D., is a visiting scholar at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia.
“We do not know exactly how anticholinergics can cause dementia,” said study co-author Chris Fox, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine at Norwich UEA and a consultant psychiatrist. “There is a need for further research to understand the possible reasons for this association, and in the meantime, I strongly recommend that patients who have concerns continue to take their medication until they have consulted their doctor or pharmacist.”
The co-author of the study Ian Maidment, Ph.D., Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of Aston in the United Kingdom, said: “As many medicines have anticholinergic activity, key employees should be prescribing clinical, patients and. Nurses need to work together to reduce the damage potential of anticholinergics. “
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