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Incontinence Medications & Greater Dementia Risk

Many commonly used prescriptions have anticholinergic effects, meaning that they block the action of acetylcholine. Nerve cells release acetylcholine to transmit impulses to other nerves in the brain and throughout the body. Previous research has shown a link between these drugs and dementia. Now a recent study has found a similar link with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), especially if you take larger doses.

Some medications are designed purposefully to block acetylcholine, such as those used for urinary incontinence. But more often the anticholinergic action is a side effect of drugs taken to treat conditions like allergies, colds, and depression.
About 75% of the study population took 2-4 times more than the recommended minimum amount. The researchers stressed the importance for older adults to regularly review their medications with their doctors and be mindful about following proper dosages.

It is for reasons like this that Patient Advocate Alliance recommends that everyone who takes medications carry a wallet medication card on them at all times. To learn about our Medication Card please CLICK HERE or click on the “Order-Card” link at the top of this screen.

The findings of the research noted above were published online Sept. 2, 2020, by the medical journal called Neurology. This article is credited to Harvard Health Publishing.

Justin Groode MD | Patient Advocate Alliance LLC

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