Half of Elderly in UK Use Prescribed Drugs that Shorten Life or Hurt Brain Function

Saturday, June 25, 2011
Half of the senior citizens of the United Kingdom have been taking prescription drugs that can impair brain function or cause death, according to a new medical study of 13,000 people aged 65 or older. Researchers from the University of East Anglia focused on the impact of medications that block a key neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Drugs that produce this side effect include anti-depressants such as Amitriptyline, Imipramine and Clomipramine, tranquilizers such as Chlorpromazine and Trifluoperazine and bladder medications like Oxybutynin. Taking a combination of so-called anticholinergic drugs can increase the risk of cognitive impairment or death, researchers concluded.
In the United States, some of the over-the-counter drugs that contain the acetylcholine-blocking antihistamine diphenhydramine are Benadryl, Excedrin PM, Tylenol PM, Dramamine, Nytol and Sominex.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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