Dementia more likely in folks who took anticholinergic drug to treat depression or bladder conditions

LONG-term use of certain anti-depressants have been linked to dementia in a large British study, although researchers could not definitively conclude that the drugs were the cause.

The study involving more than 300,000 people found that those diagnosed with dementia were almost a third more likely to have been prescribed so-called anticholinergic medicines to treat depression and certain bladder conditions between four and 20 years earlier.

“What we don’t know for sure is whether the medication is the cause of the dementia,” said George Savva from the University of East Anglia’s School of Health Science. “It could be that these medications are being prescribed for very early symptoms indicating the onset of dementia.”

The researchers compared the medical records of 40,770 dementia patients over 65 to those of 283,933 people without dementia.

Source: “Drug link to dementia”, Herald Sun (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), April 27, 2018, p. 16

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