Over-The-Counter Drugs Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

Last year, we told you about the link between Alzheimer’s symptoms and the use of paracetamol (acetaminophen) – the widely used over-the-counter painkiller… or as we like to call these drugs the wine gums of the drugs industry.

If the Alzheimer’s and dementia danger were ONLY linked to paracetamol use that would already be a crisis, because people pop these painkillers on a daily basis without giving it a second thought.

However, what researchers have just revealed about some very popular over-the-counter-drugs could mean the difference between developing Alzheimer’s or not.

A pill-pop away from Alzheimer’s Disease

The results of a new study have found that there is a long chain of over-the-counter drugs that can be linked to Alzheimer’s disease… I’m talking about those little pills helping us to relieve and control allergies, pain, an overactive bladder and insomnia.

If you’re like most people, you probably have one or more of these drugs in your medicine cabinet… and they all share a common and dangerous ingredient, an “anticholinergic” agent.

This brain-destroying ingredient works by blocking an important chemical messenger in your brain… and it can affect your mind in ways that even your doctor may not be aware of.

Researchers at the Group Health Research Institute at the University of Washington tracked over 3,500 elderly patients for seven years. They found that taking drugs like Benadryl, even at the “minimum effective dose,” for prolonged periods is enough to put you at high risk for dementia.

But it might be even worse…

Another study from the Indiana University Centre for Ageing Research found that taking these same drugs for as little as two months can cause “cognitive impairment.”

So obviously we’ve got a crisis of unknown proportions unfolding here: taking these drugs may cause a loss in your ability to understand and think clearly, and can eventually lead to Alzheimer’s.

Commenting on the findings of the study, Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “There have been concerns that regular use by older people of certain medications with anticholinergic effects, such as sleep aids and hay fever treatments, can increase the risk of dementia in certain circumstances, which this study supports. However, it is still unclear whether this is the case and if so, whether the effects seen are a result of long-term use or several episodes of short-term use.”

However, the lead researcher of the study, Professor Shelly Gray, said that while this particular study focused on elderly patients, she plans to “personally avoid taking” any of these drugs.

And that might just be the most telling part of the whole study.

Aside from Benadryl, other common drugs that contain anticholinergics include the popular antihistamine Piriton, antidepressants such as doxepin, the bladder control treatments Oxytrol and Ditropan (oxybutynin), the sleeping aids Sominex and Advil PM, Tylenol PM (which also contains a whopping dose of the liver-destroying drug acetaminophen) and Dramamine used for nausea and motion sickness.

With this brain-damaging agent being in so many different drugs, it is easy for those doses to add up. For example, you could take Benadryl for your allergies, a Dramamine for queasiness, and then pop a Sominex to get to sleep.

The researchers found that those who took bigger doses of anticholinergics (either from one drug or a combination of them) for seven years had a 54 per cent higher rate of dementia and a 63 per cent higher risk of Alzheimer’s.

Yes… you read that right: Taking these drugs for prolonged periods (something that a lot of people do) can increase your Alzheimer’s risk by a full 63 per cent!

Did you find this information useful?

Then why not get more expert health recommendations just like this delivered direct to your inbox?

"It is truly refreshing to read a newsletter on the topic of alternative medicine which is scientifically based and reviewed by professionals..." - Robert Sinott

We respect your privacy and will never share your details with anyone else.

Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


“Dementia ‘linked’ to common over-the-counter drugs” Michelle Roberts, January 27, 2015, BBC News, bbc.com

“Higher dementia risk linked to more use of common drugs” January 26, 2015, Group Health Research Institute, grouphealthresearch.org