Some Depression Drugs Linked to Dementia
Major depression is a leading cause of disability; in the UK it’s estimated 1 in 6 people will feel anxious or depressed in any one week. Now research published in the British Medical Journal has found a link between a type of drug prescribed for depression and an increased risk of developing dementia 15- 20 years later. For people aged 65-70, their risk of dementia is 10% and taking one of these drugs earlier in life increases the risk by an average of 2%.
The drugs are called Anticholergenics and a link was found between amitriptyline, dosulepin (also known as dothiepin) and paroxetine. Two drugs used to treat bladder problems oxybutynin and tolterodine were also identified as creating a higher risk of dementia and some drugs for Parkinson’s Disease are also implicated.
The study looked at medical records for more than 40,000 people known to have a diagnosis of dementia and compared them against the experience of more than a quarter of a million patients in the same age group. It backs up earlier studies in the USA, which only looked at records for a 7 year period.
Anticholergenic drugs are also used used to treat stomach problems, where no risk was found and allergies, where the risk is said to be minimal.
Whether a drug is right for you and your condition is a conversation between you and your GP or clinical expert. The researchers suggest clinicians should help you weigh up the short term benefits and the long term risks to make sure you make the best decision for your health.