A new study has shown that taking over-the-counter medications for colds, flu, and allergies is actually linked to an increased risk of dementia. The medications are called anticholinergics, and are sold over the counter and by prescription for many chronic conditions. The medications include sleep aids, hay fever pills, and flu symptom relievers.
The way anticholinergics work is by blocking a specific neurotransmitter in the brain and the body. Those types of drugs include antihistamines, muscle relaxants, and gastrointestinal drugs. Some of the commonly used anticholinergic drug brands include Benadryl, Dimetapp, Paxil, Unisom, Demerol, Advil PM, and Tylenol PM.
The new study looked at some of the side effects of these drugs that have been known about for a decade. Researchers studied about 500 older people who did not have a previous history of dementia. They conducted cognitive testing on the participants, and found that people who took those types of medications had higher rates of cognitive impairment. Scientists also brains scanned the brains of participants, and found actual physical changes that were different in patients who took the drugs as opposed to those who did not take the drugs.
Researchers say it’s important to note that just because a drug is over-the-counter does not mean that it’s safe for long-term use. If any of these drugs are used on a regular basis, the patient needs to talk to his or her doctor.
Unfortunately, many drug companies fail to include proper warnings about the safe and effective uses of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. In some cases, drug companies actually go so far as to hide the dangers associated with their drugs.
If you have been harmed by a prescription or an over-the-counter drug, call the Houston personal injury attorneys at Kennedy Hodges at 855-947-0707. You may have a case against a drug manufacturer. You can also visit our Google Plus page to learn more about our firm.