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Link to Brain Damage and Dementia: Prescription Allergy Medication

By eHealthIQ
Reviewed: June 03, 2016

Are you having trouble sleeping? Are your allergies acting up again? Many people suffer from insomnia and allergies. These same people go to medications such as Benadryl, Demerol, Dimetapp, Dramamine, Paxil, Unisom and VESIcare to relieve their symptoms. “They are sold over the counter and by prescription as sleep aids and for chronic diseases including hypertension, cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)” (Edwards and CNN Wire, 2016). Many of them are allergy medications. People trust and rely on these medications to give them relief and to keep them well. The question is, however, “Is the prescription allergy medicine safe?”

There has been recent news that prescription allergy medicine is causing brain damage and dementia. Why is this happening? The answer comes from a study that was done with the prescription allergy medication. This particular study included 451 participants with averaging seventy-three years old. Sixty of them were told to take one allergy medication with medium or high anticholinergic activity. Researchers then assessed the results of both memory and cognitive tests. They also used the necessary tools to measure brain metabolism and brain structure. According to Ashton Edwards and CNN Wire, authors of Study: Common allergy medications can damage brain, increase dementia risk, “The new study is the first to examine the physical changes that serve as the catalyst for cognitive decline. Using brain imaging techniques, researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine found (PDF) lower metabolism and reduced brain sizes among study participants taking [allergy prescription medications]” (2016). This finding contributed to the link between prescription allergy medicine and brain damage. The link between dementia and prescription allergy medication has to do with the study of the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is associated with memory and is affected early by Alzheimer’s disease (Edwards and CNN Wire, 2016). When the prescription allergy medications were taken, lower levels of glucose were shown to be in both the hippocampus and the brain overall. In addition, there were tests done that revealed that people who took these prescription allergy medications on short-term memory tests and testing of verbal reasoning, planning, and problem-solving.

Since these prescription allergy medications are linked to brain damage and dementia, it is a great idea to try other alternatives to relieve symptoms. Edwards and CNN Wire also stated that it was found that drugs with strong anticholinergic effect results in more cognitive problems when taken repeatedly for sixty days or more (2016). Just remember that these drugs are not worth your long-term health.

Reference
Edwards, A & CNN Wire. Study: Common allergy medications can damage brain, increase dementia risk. Fox 13. 2016. Access via: http://fox13now.com/2016/04/19/study-common-allergy-medications-can-damage-brain-increase-dementia-risk/

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