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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.

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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