Common allergy meds, sleep aids increase dementia risk

According to new findings, people over the age of 65 who take common sleep aids and other popular store-bought medications face increased risk of dementia.

The medications in question are called “anticholinergic drugs”—and it’s a huge class that includes antihistamines (like Benadryl and Chlor-Trimeton), drugs used to treat overactive bladder (like Detro and Ditropan), and antidepressants (like Sinequan and Elavil).

The study, done at the University of Washington in Seattle, examined data from 3,434 people age 65 and over who did not have dementia at the start of the study. During follow-up, which lasted about seven years, 23.2 percent of participants were diagnosed with dementia (and about 80 percent of those were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease).

Researchers found that, overall, the higher the cumulative dose of anticholergenic medication a patient took in the 10 years before the study, the greater the risk of dementia.

Obviously, the best way to protect yourself is to stop taking these drugs. The good news is, there are safe, effective alternatives that can help you combat all of the conditions anticholinergic drugs are prescribed for.

You can search for natural solutions for sleep, depression, and allergies by visiting my website,, and entering the specific condition into the search bar at the top right corner of the home page.


“‘Strongest Evidence Yet’ Links Anticholinergic Drugs, Dementia,” MedScape Medical News, 1/27/15

“Cumulative Use of Strong Anticholinergics and Incident Dementia,” JAMA Intern Med, epub ahead of print 1/26/15