A war of words between advocates of conventional medicine and natural health care enthusiasts is heated here in Syracuse. Many supporters of the orthodox approach to health care insist to the point of appearing to be brainwashed that drugs are always simply better than natural health care interventions and that if the drugs are cleared for clinical use and sale than they must be safe. This terribly flawed mindset in dealing with the dangers of legal drugs may be costing many people here in Syracuse cognitive impairment and even premature death according to a new study.
MedicalXpress has reported “Common drugs linked to cognitive impairment and possibly to increased risk of death”, http://bit.ly/kSTlXG. A new study has confirmed that medications with anticholinergic activity cause cognitive impairment. This research has also identified a possible link between these drugs and the risk of death. The brain is affected by anticholinergics which block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter.
Many over-the-counter which contain diphenhydramine, and are sold under various brand names such as Benadryl, Dramamine, Excedrin PM, Nytol, Sominex, Tylenol PM, and Unisom, have anticolinergic activity. And many prescription drugs such as Paxil, Detrol, Demerol and Elavil also have anticholinergic activity. These drugs are easily available over-the-counter throughout Syracuse at local pharmacies such as Rite Aide and are also often prescribed by local doctors.
Co-author of this study, Malaz Boustani, M.D, has said “Our findings make it clear that clinicians need to review the cumulative anticholinergic burden in people presenting with cognitive impairment to determine if the drugs are causing decline in mental status. Physicians should review with older patients all the over-the-counter and prescription drugs they are taking to determine exposure.”
Drugs which have anticholinergic effects are used to treat diseases including hypertension and congestive heart failure. This study discovered that older age, lower income, and the greater number of health conditions were associated with increased use of medications with anticholinergic activity. And women and people living in institutions were more likely to report taking anticholinergic medications.
Study co-author Dr. Fox said “We looked at drugs with either moderate and severe anticholinergic activity. After adjusting for age, sex, baseline mental status, education, income level, number of non-anticholinergic medications and health conditions, we found that taking anticholinergic medications was linked to cognitive impairment and for the first time to death. We need follow-up to determine the degree to which anticholinergics are being prescribed for diseases with significant risk of death and the impact of that on our findings.” And so clearly extreme caution should be taken with drugs which have anticholinergic activity.
Photographer: Mantas Ruzveltas
Mandel News Service