How Memory Loss Can Be Caused by Over-the-Counter Medication
Some common medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, have a certain property that can contribute to memory loss and mild cognitive impairment. Learn more about these drugs, how they may accelerate cognitive decline, and what to do if you or a loved one is taking one of these drugs and experiencing memory loss.
Many over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs have been linked to memory loss and mild cognitive impairment. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a common condition associated with aging that can also be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease with the main symptom being short term memory loss.
Drugs that cause MCI and related memory loss have a property known as “anti-cholinergic,” that means the drugs slow the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which plays a large role in memory retention. However, very few drugs are labeled or classified as anti-cholinergic drugs.
Other than the officially classified anti-cholinergic drugs, there are 17 additional drugs that have anti-cholinergic properties. Many doctors are unaware of the anti-cholinergicproperties in commonly prescribed medications, which can be problematic for people at risk for MCI.
Additionally, several studies have shown a higher rate of cognitive decline for people who regularly use anti-cholinergic drugs. In one specific study, a research team observed nuns and clergy from the Rush Religious Orders for an eight year period and concluded that those who used medications with anti-cholinergic properties experienced a faster rate of cognitive decline…