Drugs Contribute to SENIOR Dementia, Delirium!
Drug-Induced Dementia and Delirium Common in Seniors But Often Undetected,
Public Citizen Says Condition Is Usually Reversible, Can Be Caused By 136 Drugs
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Older patients become more susceptible to drug-induced
dementia and delirium as they age, but the symptoms are often overlooked by
doctors who don't realize that the condition may be caused by drugs and
reversed, Public Citizen writes in a Worst Pills, Best Pills News article
released today on WorstPills.org, the organization's drug safety Web site.
Unlike most forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease, which cannot
be reversed, dementia caused by prescription drug use may be stopped by
discontinuing the offending medication. The drug safety experts at Public
Citizen have identified 136 commonly prescribed medications, especially
certain antidepressants and pain medications, that can cause difficulty
Drug-induced dementia and delirium are commonly misattributed to
underlying medical illness or merely to "old age." But by stopping or
modifying the dosage of numerous, frequently prescribed drugs, most patients
can be restored to a pre-drug state of mental clarity.
Older people are more susceptible to drug-induced delirium and dementia
because the body's ability to rid itself of drugs decreases with age, often
because of normal age-related decrease in kidney and liver function. Also,
older patients are often prescribed multiple drugs at the same time,
resulting in complicated interactions and enhanced side effects. Some
research also suggests older patients' brains may be more sensitive to
drugs' effects on the central nervous system.
"Sadly, doctors don't always recognize cognitive impairment as a side
effect, so many patients needlessly suffer from this debilitating but
reversible condition," said Sidney Wolfe, M.D., director of Public Citizen's
Health Research Group and acting Public Citizen president. "After beginning
new drugs, doctors, patients and their families should watch for subtle
changes in cognition and assume changes may be caused by drug therapy.
People already suffering from some cognitive impairment are most
Delirium is a syndrome of changes in vision, hearing and thinking that
usually starts abruptly and is commonly seen in the hospital setting or
during an acute illness; symptoms typically improve when the cause is
treated. Dementia, on the other hand, is a chronic alteration in thinking
that progresses slowly. Alzheimer's disease is dementia's most common cause,
but it also can be caused by strokes and other conditions.
WorstPills.org includes the full list of 136 implicated drugs. Some
examples include: widely used antihistamines such as diphenhydramine
(Benedryl); a drug widely used for treating urinary incontinence,
tolteridine (Detrol); a nausea treatment drug, metoclopramide (Reglan); and
drugs in the benzodiazepine category such as popular sleeping pills Ambien
(zolpidem) and Lunesta (eszopiclone).
Worst Pills, Best Pills News is a monthly newsletter available in print
and electronic formats through Public Citizen's subscription Web site,
WorstPills.org. The article about drug-induced dementia and delirium will be
available free for the next seven days. The site has other searchable in
formation about the uses, risks and side effects associated with
WorstPills.org is an unbiased analysis of information from a variety of
sources, including well-regarded medical journals and unpublished data
obtained from the Food and Drug Administration, that allows Public Citizen
to sound the alarm about potentially dangerous drugs long before they are
banned by the federal government and to recommend safer drugs. For example,
Public Citizen warned consumers about the dangers of Vioxx, ephedra, Baycol
and Propulsid years before they were pulled from the market.
A partial list of drugs is below. I chose Antihistamines because it is the
time of year when people often turn to these products.
Antihistamines (these are OTC meds, and too numerous to list)
Hydroxyzine (ATARAX, HY-PAM, VISTARIL)
Many of the drugs on this extensive list are some of the most commonly
prescribed for all age groups. They are extremely problematic for the
elderly and small-statured persons.The common feature is that they
DEHYDRATE THE BRAIN. That is what destroys brain cells. Think of that
next time you play two sets of tennis on a hot day.
Please make sure to ask your health care provider to tell you of the side
effects of any drug prescribed. Double checking with your pharmacist is also
worth your trouble.
There are excellent natural remedies for most health concerns; Detrol is
one that comes to mind because it is mentioned in this article. Please
contact us for more information.
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