Anticholinergics and Other Drugs to Avoid
A number of medications should generally be avoided by older adults as well as by individuals who have dementia, as they are thought to potentially worsen cognitive impairment ( Table 3 ).[1,40] These effects can be especially severe. Chronic use of anticholinergic medications may cause a cognitively intact individual to seem demented. In a geriatric community study (n=201), those who had serum anticholinergic activity greater than 2.8 pmol/ml were 13 times more likely to have a MMSE <24, which might be easily mistaken for a dementing process. Anticholinergic effects are found in a wide range of both prescription and over-the-counter medications (see Figure 2). Some of the anticholinergic OTC medications (such as diphenhydramine [Benedryl®] and dimenhydrinate [Gravol®]) are commonly taken by older adults as sleep aids owing to their sedating effects.
Geriatrics and Aging. 2008;11(5):284-289. © 2008 1453987 Ontario, Ltd.
Cite this: The Older Brain on Drugs: Substances That May Cause Cognitive Impairment - Medscape - Jun 01, 2008.