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The drugs in your bathroom cabinet could increase your risk of dementia

Long-term use of some common prescription medications may be linked with heightened risk of dementia.

Researchers found a statistically significant association between dementia and exposure to anticholinergic drugs, especially antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, anti-Parkinson drugs, anti-epilepsy drugs and bladder antimuscarinics, which are used to treat urinary incontinence, according to the observational study published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Anticholinergic drugs work by blocking a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the nervous system.

The researchers analyzed data from 2004 to 2016 from 284,343 patients in England aged 55 and up. They found “nearly a 50% increased odds of dementia” linked with exposure to more than 1,095 daily doses of anticholinergics over 10 years, “equivalent to three years’ daily use of a single strong anticholinergic medication at the minimum effective dose recommended for older people.

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