Popular Drugs for Allergies, Colds and Sleep Linked to Dementia

May 2016 -- A new study found that medicines taken by millions for depression, asthma, allergies, and other conditions may raise the risk of getting dementia.

The drugs involved in the study are known as anticholinergics. They work by blocking a brain chemical called acetylcholine, which is crucial for memory. Although this isn’t the first time researchers have looked at this link, the new study looked at about 100 over-the-counter and prescription drugs that work in this way, ranging from the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine) to the allergy drug Benadryl (diphenhydramine) to the motion sickness remedy Dramamine (dimenhydrinate).

The experts found a strong link between the drugs and dementia, but they didn't prove the meds directly cause it.

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