Anticholinergic Drug Exposure and the Risk of Dementia
New research suggests there is a link between dementia and certain classes of anticholinergic drugs. According to the researchers, the findings "highlight the importance of reducing exposure to anticholinergic drugs in middle-aged and older people." The nested case–control study investigated whether exposure to the drugs was linked to dementia risk in more than 58,000 patients with a dementia diagnosis and more than 225,000 matched controls aged 55 years or older.
The researchers report, "There was nearly a 50% increased odds of dementia associated with total anticholinergic exposure of more than 1095 [total standardized daily doses] within a 10-year period, which is equivalent to 3 years' daily use of a single strong anticholinergic medication at the minimum effective dose recommended for older people." The associations were for the anticholinergic antidepressants, bladder antimuscarinics, antipsychotics, and antiepileptic drugs, and the association were stronger in cases diagnosed prior to age 80 years and in those with vascular dementia vs. Alzheimer disease.
Click here to read the article that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.