JUL 02, 2019 1:21 PM PDT

Anticholinergic Drugs and Dementia?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

A link between anticholinergic drug use and cognitive impairment was recently observed from observational studies on randomized clinical trials. Regenstrief Institute research scientists examined whether anticholinergic drugs can lead to dementia and if cholinergic neurotransmission can be improved. Commentary published in JAMA Internal Medicine explains how researchers identify anticholinergic drug use as a potential public health concern and risk factor for dementia.

Anticholinergic-based medicines work by inhibiting the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and used for the treatment of anxiety, depression, and certain types of pain as well as allergies or sleep problems. They are frequently prescribed to older adults.

Learn more about anticholinergic pharmacology:

"Though we learn about potential risk factors through observational studies, the best way to define a causal relationship between anticholinergics and dementia requires a prospective, randomized trial," states lead author, Dr. Noll Campbell. "In conducting such a trial, we can also learn about the risks and benefits of deprescribing medications, including the impact on symptom control, withdrawal or other adverse events, quality of life, and healthcare utilization."

In the commentary, researchers call for the opportunity to understand the cognitive benefit of deprescribing anticholinergics. They identify ideal drug targets for reducing the anticholinergic burden which includes: “(1) high risk of harm, (2) commonly used and (3) existence of an alternative drug to manage the patient's medical condition, if necessary.”

"Clinicians, health policy makers and patients need to understand the benefits and harms of deprescribing anticholinergics," Dr. Campbell added. "The bottom line is that we need as much high-quality evidence to understand risks and benefits of deprescribing a medication as we have to prescribe it. At the same time, we need to be exploring alternative medications which are known not to harm the aging brain and that patients can afford."

Source: Regenstrief.org

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
SEP 21, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Metformin Does Not Work in All Type 2 Diabetics
SEP 21, 2020
Metformin Does Not Work in All Type 2 Diabetics
Although metformin is the first-line drug for type-2 diabetics, research shows that it is not always effective for all t ...
OCT 06, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Use May Reduce Cancer Risk by 10%
OCT 06, 2020
Cannabis Use May Reduce Cancer Risk by 10%
A recent meta-analysis of 34 studies found that cannabis use may decrease one’s risk of developing certain kinds o ...
NOV 09, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
COVID-19 Vaccine by Pfizer More than 90% Effective
NOV 09, 2020
COVID-19 Vaccine by Pfizer More than 90% Effective
A preliminary analysis of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine shows that it can prevent over 90% of people from c ...
NOV 20, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments Reverse Aging
NOV 20, 2020
Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments Reverse Aging
Researchers from Israel have found that hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) in healthy aging adults can prevent blood ce ...
NOV 26, 2020
Cardiology
Possible Cardioprotective Effects of the Diabetes Drug Empagliflozin
NOV 26, 2020
Possible Cardioprotective Effects of the Diabetes Drug Empagliflozin
Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are often associated with each other, as many issues caused by diabetes promote hear ...
NOV 22, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Synthetic Cannabinoids Linked to Increased Deaths in Older Patients with COPD
NOV 22, 2020
Synthetic Cannabinoids Linked to Increased Deaths in Older Patients with COPD
Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto have found that two synthetic cannabinoids available on prescri ...
Loading Comments...