Smart pills as cognitive enhancement? Let’s first monitor negative cognitive side-effects of common medications

Mem­o­ry Loss Could Be The Fault Of Your Meds, Not Your Age (Inter­na­tion­al Busi­ness Times):

Mem­o­ry loss isn’t always an inevitable sign of get­ting old – in some cas­es, com­mon med­ica­tions that seniors take to treat insom­nia, anx­i­ety, or even aller­gies could be to blame…Tannenbaum and her col­leagues recent­ly inves­ti­gat­ed what kinds of med­ica­tion are most like­ly to affect both mem­o­ry and con­cen­tra­tion. In a meta-analy­sis of 162 exper­i­ments on var­i­ous drugs, Tan­nen­baum con­clud­ed that the recur­rent use of sev­er­al kinds of med­ica­tions can have impacts on cog­ni­tive function…Sixty-eight of the stud­ies they exam­ined focused on ben­zo­di­azepines, which are often used to treat insom­nia and anx­i­ety. Con­sis­tent­ly, these med­ica­tions led to impared mem­o­ry and con­cen­tra­tion, with stronger impacts at high­er dos­es. Tan­nen­baum says her find­ings con­firm recent rec­om­men­da­tions from the Amer­i­can Geri­atric Soci­ety that seniors avoid tri­cyclic anti­de­pres­sants, cer­tain anti­his­t­a­mines and all sleep­ing pills.”

Patients need this infor­ma­tion so that they are more com­fort­able talk­ing to their doc­tors and phar­ma­cists about safer phar­ma­co­log­i­cal or non-phar­ma­co­log­i­cal treat­ment options,” Tan­nen­baum said.

Study: A Sys­tem­at­ic Review of Amnes­tic and Non-Amnes­tic Mild Cog­ni­tive Impair­ment Induced by Anti­cholin­er­gic, Anti­his­t­a­mine, GABAer­gic and Opi­oid Drugs (Drugs & Aging). From the Abstract:

  • Back­ground: Mild cog­ni­tive deficits are expe­ri­enced by 18% of com­mu­ni­ty-dwelling old­er adults, many of whom do not progress to demen­tia. The effect of com­mon­ly used med­ica­tion on sub­tle impair­ments in cog­ni­tive func­tion may be under-recognized.
  • Con­clu­sion: Non-amnes­tic mild cog­ni­tive deficits are con­sis­tent­ly induced by first-gen­er­a­tion anti­his­t­a­mines and tri­cyclic anti­de­pres­sants, while ben­zo­di­azepines pro­voke com­bined amnes­tic and non-amnes­tic impair­ments. Risk-ben­e­fit con­sid­er­a­tions should be dis­cussed with patients in order to enable an informed choice about drug dis­con­tin­u­a­tion or sub­sti­tu­tion to poten­tial­ly reverse cog­ni­tive adverse effects.

English About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.

English About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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