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Most folks have experienced the dry mouth side effects from antihistamines. It makes sense, right? If your nose is running and eyes are watering, you naturally want to take something to dry them out. The problem is, according to a new study, antihistamines might be drying out more than just your sinuses. Your brain, memory, and long-term cognitive function may be directly linked to the long-term use of certain antihistamines as well as other medications. (1-6)
According to a new study published in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA), anticholinergics (antihistamines) have been linked to memory loss and severe cognitive decline. (1) The most common anticholinergics are found in most antihistamines such as Benadryl, chlorpheniramine, and tricyclic antidepressants such as doxepin and amitriptyline, and bladder antimuscarinics such as oxybutynin, to name a few. (7)
Memory loss has been a well-known side effect of these drugs for years, but the so-called anticholinergic-induced cognitive impairment was considered reversible until now.
The study evaluated 3434 participants who were at least 65 years old with no history of cognitive impairment from 1994 to 2012. During the 10+ year evaluation of anticholinergic use, 23.2% of the participants developed dementia. (1)
Efforts are now being made to inform doctors about the risks of the long-term use of anticholinergics, but this is difficult – as the use of this class of drugs is incredibly prevalent with so many over-the-counter antihistamines on the market. In fact, long-term or daily use of antihistamines has been the gold standard prescription for years for sinus irritation, with more than 20% of seniors on daily anticholinergics.
While over-the-counter antihistamines are a major concern, the tricyclic antidepressants actually made up most of the anticholinergic use in this study, which only complicated this issue of limiting long-term use.
While these medications have served many people, we should be considering them for what they are. They are medicines – you get on them, get better, and then get off them. The problem is that we are not being guided to bring the body back into health, and we are becoming dependent on the long-term and sometimes risky use of medications.
Ayurveda, and our goal at LifeSpa, aims at helping the body heal itself rather than becoming dependent on a pill or a powder. Learn more about how Ayurveda accomplishes this for your health concerns in my articles and video archives.