According to a new study, the popular allergy and insomnia drugs we considered to be safe can actually lead to numerous severe health risks.
Namely, dementia drugs now involve common anticholinergic drugs, such as Dramamine, Advil PM, Benadryl, and Unison. Also, the painkiller Demerol and the antidepressant drug Paxil also have anticholinergic effects.
Yet, this was not the first time when experts have suggested a link between anticholinergic drugs and cognitive decline.
However, the newest study published in JAMA Neurology is unique, as the researchers of the Indiana University School of Medicine used brain imaging to determine the effect of these anticholinergic drugs.
They used MRI and PET scan imaging and showed the way these drugs led to lower brain metabolism and higher brain atrophy, and the memory tests also showed worse scores.
The scientists at the University of Washington in 2015 also discovered that the chronic use of some anticholinergic sleep aids and hay fever medications raised the risk of dementia. Namely, the use of these drugs for 3 or more years was found to be related to these side-effects.
Moreover, other medications which have anticholinergic effects include some drugs which include tiotropium used in the treatment of respiratory diseases such as COPD and asthma (Atrovent) (Spiriva).
Also, others drugs of this kind include Paxil (for depression) and drugs which include solifenacin, such as Vesicare (used in the treatment of overactive bladder problems).
Therefore, next time your doctor prescribes you drugs which have anticholinergic effects, you should ask for another opinion before you quit their use. Yet, it is also possible to avoid these medications and try some natural, alternative solutions to your allergies or insomnia issues, such as:
In order to avoid the side-effects of over-the-counter drugs, you can use valerian root as a sleep remedy. Moreover, you should consume foods high in melatonin, like ginger, bananas, cherries and radishes before going to sleep. Also, set the temperature for between 60 and 70 degrees F, in order to stimulate sleepiness by lowering the internal thermometer of the body.
Essential oils can be extremely beneficial in the case of allergies. According to a study conducted in 2010 and published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, peppermint oil acts as a relaxant and exhibits antispasmodic activity, preventing contractions that lead to a cough.
Yet, note that it is not recommended in the case of children younger than 30 months. Furthermore, avoid chamomile, sunflower seeds, bananas, cucumber, melons, and Echinacea in the case of a ragweed allergy, as they stimulate an allergic response in your system.
You can also alleviate respiratory issues, soothe the inflammation in the body and strengthen the immune system by the consumption of bone broth from lamb, chicken, or beef.
To sum up, before you decide to stop the use of certain medications, you should consult your doctor regarding the therapy which includes anticholinergic drugs, related to dementia. In that case, you can research some other alternative options, like natural remedies.
Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS is a doctor of natural medicine, nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine and operates one of the world’s largest natural health websites at www.DrAxe.com.