Disorientation. Confusion. Memory loss. While these are definitely hallmark warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, they can also come about from taking specific medications. Before automatically assuming an inevitable dementia diagnosis, review the following list of prescription medications that may cause similar effects.
Opioids specifically are reported to affect short-term memory. The good news is that the issue is usually resolved once pain remedies are no longer being taken.
Prescribed for insomnia, IBS, urinary incontinence, depression, heart disease, vertigo, and Parkinson’s, along with other conditions, treatments with anticholinergic effects that block acetylcholine’s effects in the brain may cause memory disturbance, confusion, agitation, and delirium, and other significant health conditions. An example is tolteridine.
These medications help treat both insomnia and anxiety, with sedative qualities that can also cause cognitive problems. Long-term usage of benzodiazepines may also be a risk factor for developing dementia. Examples include lorazepam (Ativan) and temazepam (Restoril).
Mood and cognitive changes, psychotic symptoms, and delirium are just some of the complications connected with corticosteroid use. Prednisone is one common example.
Known as “chemo brain,” chemotherapy drugs impact some individuals in the areas of memory, attention and focus, and executive functioning. These changes may persist, even after finishing chemo treatment.
Statins, prescribed to lower cholesterol, have a suspected link to memory and mental slowing and decline. While there are inconsistent results from a variety of studies, it is important to know about the potential for cognitive complications.
It’s also important to note that many medications affect older adults differently than those who are younger. This is due in part to the decreased efficiency in an older person’s kidneys and liver, in addition to interactions with other medications being taken and a reduced cognitive reserve in the brain. Complications can also be further exacerbated by alcohol use.
Make sure to speak with the physician prior to starting, stopping, or changing any medication, and about whether any cognitive complications you’re witnessing in an older adult might be the result of a medication.
Responsive Home Care, the top provider of senior home care in Pembroke Pines and nearby areas, is also readily available to assist older adults in many ways – medication reminders to ensure meds are taken just as prescribed, picking up prescriptions, transportation to doctors’ appointments, and keeping an eye out for any changes in condition and reporting them immediately, just to name a few. Contact us at (954) 486-6440 for help and support any time.