• SeniorNews

Common Prescription Drugs Linked to Memory Loss

By Becky Streeter

Alzheimer’s and dementia are two of the leading memory loss diseases in today’s world. Forty-four million people have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and almost six million reside in the United States [1]. Alzheimer’s is actually sixth in leading causes of death in America, and the only disease in the top 10 that cannot be cured, prevented or slowed. Dementia also demands increasing attention as there are approximately 50 million people suffering with this disease currently, and the number is expected to rise to more than 80 million by 2030.

Most people recognize the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia such as memory loss, confusion about times and dates, irritability, forgetfulness, increasingly poor judgment, and difficulty completing simple tasks. As degenerative diseases, once the symptoms set in, there is no going back.

Though both diseases are passed down through genetic material and you may be predisposed either way, there are certain things you can do today to decrease your chances of developing memory loss, such as changes in diet, lifestyle, habits, and prescription medication.

Medication has a cause and effect relationship with our bodies and minds. While science creates medication to help fight infections, viruses and diseases, the harmful side effects are not always known until much later, after the damage has already been done.

In 2015, a memory loss study was conducted on 3,434 men and women ages 65 and up, none of whom had any symptoms when the study began. Extensive medication history was obtained from all participants, including both prescription and over the counter drugs. Over the course of seven years, almost 800 participants developed dementia, 637 of whom went on to develop Alzheimer’s. The common thread: specific antidepressants, antihistamines, and bladder control medication. In some of these cases, participants took these medications for as little as three years and developed symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s [2].

The top twenty medications linked to memory loss are [3]:

1. Amoxicillin

2. Cephalexin (Keflex)

3. Levofloxacin (Levaquin)

4. Benadryl

5. Vistaryl

6. Tavist

7. Clarinex

8. Oxytrol for Women

9. Xanax

10. Valium

11. Ativan

12. Librium

13. Lunesta

14. Sonata

15. Ambien

16. Lipitor

17. Lescol

18. Mevacor

19. Prevachol

20. Crestor

(For a full list, see

Memory loss is common as we age, but it does not necessarily mean you have dementia or Alzheimer’s. It could simply be that you have lived a full life and there is too much information for your brain to store, so some things have to go by the wayside to make space for other things. However, if you believe your memory loss is causing problems in your daily life and/or getting worse, there are few important steps you can follow:

1. Make an appointment with your doctor to talk about your experiences. Also make sure to mention the medications you are taking and ask if they could potentially be creating unnecessary side effects.

2. Request a blood test to make sure your symptoms aren’t related to hormone imbalances or nutrient deficiencies.

3. Examine your diet and lifestyle habits and make sure you are making healthy choices about the food you eat and that you are receiving the proper amount of exercise.

Alzheimer’s and dementia are serious diseases. If you are not experiencing symptoms, chances are at least one person in your life is or will be at some point in the future. It is never too late to start putting your health first and being informed about the potential risks and side effects of the medications you put into you body.

Information for this article obtained from Other sources: 1.; 2. JAMA Internal Medicine. “Cumulative Use of Strong Anticholinergics and Incident Dementia.”; 3.

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