If you have allergies -- and we know there are a ton of people out there who do -- then you have likely taken Benadryl a time or two. Heck, this anticholinergic drug might be your go-to move whenever a sneeze attack rears its ugly head.
If you have found yourself using Benadryl, or anticholinergic medications in general, then you might want to stop.
As Beverly Merz, the Executive Editor of Harvard Women’s Health Watch, pointed out, "In a report published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers offers compelling evidence of a link between long-term use of anticholinergic medications like Benadryl and dementia."
If you are wondering what the study in the link above found, then the below information is for you.
"A team led by Shelley Gray, a pharmacist at the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy, tracked nearly 3,500 men and women ages 65 and older who took part in Adult Changes in Thought (ACT), a long-term study conducted by the University of Washington and Group Health, a Seattle healthcare system. They used Group Health’s pharmacy records to determine all the drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, that each participant took the 10 years before starting the study. Participants’ health was tracked for an average of seven years. During that time, 800 of the volunteers developed dementia. When the researchers examined the use of anticholinergic drugs, they found that people who used these drugs were more likely to have developed dementia as those who didn’t use them. Moreover, dementia risk increased along with the cumulative dose. Taking an anticholinergic for the equivalent of three years or more was associated with a 54% higher dementia risk than taking the same dose for three months or less."
This should be a serious eye-opener for people who take an over-the-counter medication, or medication in general, and don't also take the time to read the label and see what they are about to put in their bodies.
That's the problem, though. Many people just take over-the-counter drugs without knowing what they are consuming. All they know is the medicine they are about to take should cure their current illness -- that's it.
If you are a vegan, you wouldn't consume a food product without first checking the nutrition label, right? After all, you don't want to consume an animal product. Well, people need to start checking the drugs they are putting in their bodies.
Sure, a certain medication might make you feel better in the short-term, but you need to really consider if it is going to be worth it in the long-term. As more and more studies (such as the one Merz pointed out) become available, hopefully doctors make them known.
The next time you take medication, especially one you can get without a prescription, take a second to read the label. If you don't know what you are putting into your body, which is common since not everyone is an actual doctor, then do some research. Or -- and this might be a better solution -- you could just ask your doctor.