And what especially troubles me is that most of these older adults — and their families — have no idea that many have been linked to developing dementia, or to worsening of dementia symptoms.
Every older adult and family should know how to optimize brain function, and avoiding problem medications, or at least using them judiciously and in the lowest doses necessary, is key to this.”Identifying medications that make brain function worse should be at the top of the list of things to review. Kernisan, many seniors are taking over-the-counter or prescription medications that dampen brain functioning, which is often not necessary. Kernisan shares some of the most commonly used drugs that you should be on the lookout for if you are worried about memory problems: These medications are prescribed to help with sleep or anxiety problems, but they are also habit-forming and have been associated with developing dementia. Kernisan notes that there is no easy and fast alternative for insomnia, as just about all sedatives dampen brain function.
Because benzodiazepines have a sedative effect, they are sometimes used to treat insomnia and the anxiety that can accompany depression. Taken before bedtime in doses from 3 to 10 mg, melatonin can help to reestablish healthy sleep patterns.
Examples: Alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), flurazepam (Dalmane), lorazepam (Ativan), midazolam (Versed), quazepam (Doral), temazepam (Restoril) and triazolam (Halcion). Be sure to consult your health care professional before stopping or reducing the dosage of any benzodiazepine.
Most people are familiar with at least some of the things that can impair memory, including alcohol and drug abuse, heavy cigarette smoking, head injuries, stroke, sleep deprivation, severe stress, vitamin B12 deficiency, and illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and depression. If you take one of these meds for insomnia, mild anxiety or agitation, talk with your doctor or other health care professional about treating your condition with other types of drugs or nondrug treatments.
But what many people don't realize is that many commonly prescribed drugs also can interfere with memory. Why they are prescribed: Benzodiazepines are used to treat a variety of anxiety disorders, agitation, delirium and muscle spasms, and to prevent seizures. If you have insomnia, for instance, melatonin might help.
You should do it because it ends up making a difference for brain health and quality of life.
These and anti-cholinergic medications promote delirium. Anti-cholinergic medications also promote sedation, urinary retention, dry mouth, constipation, orthostatic hypotension, and other problems.
sedating and strong anti-cholinergic properties; promote delirium, falls, urinary retention, dry mouth, constipation; use of hyocyamine, scopolamine, and belladonna alkaloids to dry secretions in palliative medical care may be appropriateavoid in the elderly for control of delirium, sleep disorders, or agitation; elders are more sensitive to the delirium promoting and fall promoting side effects of these medications; may be appropriate for some conditions such as alcohol withdrawal, or benzodiazepine withdrawalrisk – benefit analysis favors rate control over rhythm control in most older adults; amiodarone associated with thyroid problems, pulmonary problems and QT prolongation; disopyramide may have a negative ionotropic effect and may precipitate heart failure, it is also anticholinergic Table adapted from: Identifying Medications that Older Adults Should Avoid or Use with Caution: the 2012 American Geriatrics Society Updated Beers Criteria.
The sleep-wake cycle is one of the most obvious of our body’s circadian rhythms.
Other circadian rhythms include body temperature and secretion of many hormones.
Antihistamines How they can cause memory loss: Benzodiazepines dampen activity in key parts of the brain, including those involved in the transfer of events from short-term to long-term memory.