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What did the new study include?
The study, conducted by Carroll Cupland, Professor of Medical Statistics in Primary Care at the University of Nottingham, England and colleagues, evaluates anticholinergic drugs prescribed to nearly 285,000 people over the age of 55. About 59,000 of them had a diagnosis of dementia. The information was obtained from a database of medical data from patients in more than 1
What are the limitations of the study?
An important warning in this type of study is that it has been observed, which means there is no way to know whether the drug is playing a direct role in causing dementia. All he shows is that the risk of developing dementia appears to be higher for people taking some of these medicines. It is also possible, noted the authors, some conditions, such as depression, may be early predictors of cognitive decline. It is possible, for example, that some people taking antidepressants are actually being treated for what is going to be has an early symptom of dementia, so their depression is accompanied by an increased risk of dementia – not the medicine they take
What is the lower limit?
It is possible, but not proven, that some anticholinergic drugs increase the risk of dementia. If you need long-term treatment for one of the illnesses concerned, talk to your doctor about other treatment options that are not in the anticholinergic class, such as antidepressants like Celexa and Prozac. In many cases, there may be choices.