Anticholinergic Linked to Higher Dementia Risk

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Anticholinergic Linked to Higher Dementia Risk

Drugs that are commonly prescribed for a number of conditions, from bladder problems to Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and depression, are linked to almost 50% higher dementia risk in older adults, said a new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

"The study is important because it strengthens a growing body of evidence showing that strong anticholinergic drugs have long term associations with dementia risk," said the study's author Carol Coupland, professor of medical statistics in primary care at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.

"It also highlights which types of anticholinergic drugs have the strongest associations. This is important information for physicians to know when considering whether to prescribe these drugs," she said.

"This is an observational study so no firm conclusions can be drawn about whether these anticholinergic drugs cause dementia,” she stressed, adding that people who take such medications are recommended not to stop them without referring to their doctor first.