BLOOMINGTON -- A new study from Indiana University links long-term use of certain medications to a higher risk of progression to Alzheimer’s disease.
The study looked at chronic use of anticholinergic drugs by older adults.
Medication with anticholinergic effects include certain over-the-counter antihistamines and nighttime cold medicines, and prescription drugs for sleep aid and many chronic diseases such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
The study found that prolonged use caused a reduction in brain size and reduced cognitive ability among participants.
“Older adults who were taking anti medications showed a higher risk for progression to dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s diseases or mild cognitive impairment,” says Dr. Shannon Risacher, lead author of the study.
Risacher says previous studies have linked short-term use of anticholinergics to cognitive problems.
Risacher and other researchers will continue the research with additional neuro-imaging.