Saturday, July 5, 2008

People With Alzheimer's and Related Dementias Should Avoid Certain Drugs

By Jeanine Kendle
The elderly with Alzheimers or another dementia generally tolerate drugs more poorly than healthy older individuals. Increased sensitivity to certain side effects, difficulty following drug regimens and decreased ability to recognize and report adverse events are common reasons.
The elderly with Alzheimers and related dementias also are susceptible to develop drug- induced cognitive impairment (loss of the ability to reason) than other healthy adults.
Medications with strong anticholinergic side effects, such as antihistamines that cause drowsiness, are well known for causing acute cognitive impairment in individuals with dementia. Anticholinergic-like effects, such as urinary retention and dry mouth, also have been identified in drugs not typically associated with major AC side effects such as narcotics (powerful pain relievers) and benzodiazepines (generally used as tranquilizers or for sleep).

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