Over-the-counter allergy drugs linked to dementia risk, research reveals
BY ENDURANCE NEWS STAFF
Now that allergy season is hitting its full stride, you may be tempted to reach for an over-the- counter medication to combat your stuffy nose, sniffles, and watery eyes. Recent research, however, suggests you do otherwise.
The study, published in April's JAMA Neurology, found that the use of anticholinergics, of which popular allergy medication Benadryl is classified, cause increased brain atrophy, dysfunction, and cognitive decline, especially among older adults.
Researchers at the Indiana School of Medicine conducted a similar study and reached similar conclusions. They conducted cognitive testing on participants with an average age in their mid-70s with no prior history of dementia. Brain scans revealed that the patients taking anticholinergics had higher rates of cognitive impairment.
"The takeaway here is that just because it's over-the-counter does not necessarily mean it's safe for you to use long term. I want everyone talking to their doctor if they're using any of these medications on a regular basis," Dr. Alexandra Sowa, an internist and clinical instructor at Weill Cornell Medical College told CBS News. "People need to know what's in their medicines. They have side effects and there may be increased risk down the road of significant cognitive impairment. We can't say that one causes the other, but we're now starting to see increased rates of association."
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