Acetylcholine is responsible for transmitting messages in the nervous system. When low in this substance, you can become forgetful and experience symptoms that resemble dementia.
Evidence from a study published in March 2015 linked an increased risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, to long-term use of certain drugs that block the action of acetylcholine. These drugs are known as anticholinergic and can cause the following side-effects:.
Any drug that starts with “anti,” such as antihistamines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, antibiotics, antispasmodic, or antihypertensive, can affect your acetylcholine level. Ditropan for controlling overactive bladder can affect levels as well. Following are common antihistamines:
Neurotransmitters become naturally imbalanced as people age, increasing the brain’s sensitivity to drugs that have activity in the central nervous system. There is also a decrease in kidney and liver function. This affects the body’s ability to clear drugs, so they can accumulate in the body.
In addition, older patients are often prescribed multiple drugs. Interactions between them can increase side-effects, including cognitive impairment.
To raise acetylcholine levels, add the following choline-rich foods to your diet:
Please note: Always discuss any medication concerns with your doctor
Source: Shelly L. Gray et al, “Cumulative Use of Strong Anticholinergics and Incident Dementia.” JAMA Internal Medicine, 2015; DOI:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.7663