Are you taking these prescription drugs that cause memory loss?

Friday, July 06, 2018 by

Get your pens out, ladies and gents — we’re describing the three most common prescription drugs that increase the likelihood of memory loss.

Memory loss, which is often interpreted as one of the early signs of Alzheimer’s, can actually be a side effect of standard prescription drugs. Worse, most people remain unaware of these risks and assume that their inconceivable forgetfulness is a symptom of ageing.

Dr. Armon Neel, a geriatric pharmacist with the AARP, disagrees, “scientists now know that memory loss as you get older is by no means inevitable [emphasis added]. Indeed, the brain can grow new brain cells and reshape their connections throughout life.”   

So if you find yourself suddenly forgetting things you normally wouldn’t, one of these prescribed drugs may be the culprit.

Anticholinergics

Otherwise known as the “anti” drugs, these include medicines like antihistamines, antipsychotics, antibiotics, and antihypertensives. These “anti” drugs affect the levels of acetylcholine, a primary neurotransmitter associated with memory and learning. Neurologists have found that people with low levels of acetylcholine have difficulties concentrating or finding the correct word. In fact, deficiencies in this neurotransmitter are often linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s and the medications for these disorders “work” by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain.

What your doctor won’t tell you though is that the side effects of anticholinergic drugs are more severe among seniors. This is due to the natural reduction of the neurotransmitter as we age. Seniors who take anticholinergic drugs increase their risk of developing dementia by around 30 percent, according to conservative estimates.

Sleeping pills

Many people who take prescription sleeping pills often report having episodes of memory loss. One of the more controversial examples of this is known as “Ambien amnesia” or “Ambien blackout,” so-called after patients who, after taking the popular sleeping pill, Ambien, said that they have performed certain behavior in their sleep with no recollection of it the following day. (Related: Ambien sleeping pills linked to bizarre sleep walking behavior, including unconscious driving of vehicles and wild hallucinations.)

EEG scans of patients who take sleeping pills have shown that their brainwave patterns are indeed different compared to normal people — with their tests showing that their brain was working as if they were unconscious, drunk, or in a coma but not as if they were actually asleep.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs

Statin cholesterol-lowering drugs increases the risk of memory loss by almost 400 percent. The same mechanisms that supposedly help your heart damage your brain. This is because one-quarter of your brain is composed of cholesterol. This very same cholesterol is needed for the production of various neurotransmitters, not the least of which are those needed for memory and learning.

The bottom line

Be proactive when you speak with your doctor. If you believe that your prescriptions are causing your memory loss, tell them immediately.

At the same time, you can give your brain the healthiest possible environment by supplementing with some natural alternatives that boost brain health. These include:

  • Gotu kola — This is normally given as a tonic and is extremely popular among traditional healers as one of the best brain boosters. The herb enhances blood circulation and supports memory function.
  • Ashwagandha — A factor in memory loss is stress. People who are overly stressed find themselves not remembering things correctly or at all. Ashwagandha prevents the deterioration of brain cells by helping you cope with stress naturally.
  • Bacopa — This is an Ayurvedic herb that is repeatedly hailed as an overall brain-boosting aid. Naturopaths say that the herb enhances memory, reduces stress, and improves mental function.
  • Ginseng — No brain-boosting list would be complete without mentioning ginseng. The herb is famous for improving all-around mental function. It is also a known adaptogen, meaning that it helps boost your immune system.

Are you taking good care of your brain? Read more articles related to neurocognitive health at Brain.news.

Sources include:

BeBrainFit.com

MedicalDaily.com

FoodMatters.com



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