It may shock you to find out that one of the leading causes of death in the US is adverse reactions to medications. We all know that drugs can have some unwanted side effects and risks but many of us didn’t realize they can be so serious. And even more surprisingly, memory loss is listed among the most common side effects, can you imagine?
3 Types of Medications That Cause Memory Loss
Here are three categories of drugs and medications and any prescription drug that falls in one of them can lead to severe memory loss and a plethora of cognitive issues.
- THE “ANTI” DRUGS
These may very well be the most commonly used drugs, we all use antidepressants, antihistamines, antipsychotics, antispasmodics, antibiotics or antihypertensive and they will wreak havoc on your acetylcholine levels.
For those who don’t know, acetylcholine is the main neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory. If there’s a low-level of acetylcholine in your system you could experience delirium, mental confusion, blurred vision, hallucinations, memory loss and dementia.
- SLEEPING PILLS
Once again we have the drug that many couldn’t do without, sleeping pills, which are the worst when it comes to increased risk of memory loss
If you’ve heard about Ambien you must know why it was dubbed “the amnesia drug” – because the people who use it start having problems with sleep walking, night terrors, hallucinations and sleep driving. Sleeping pills are known to lead to a state similar to being drunk or in a coma. That’s why if you’re on these pills your brain can’t fall into the restorative sleep it needs to repair itself and rest, leading to a plethora of cognitive issues.
- STATIN DRUGS
Finally we have the popular cholesterol-lowering drugs or statins, which are also one of the worst drugs for your brain health. They can cause memory loss, something that should be listed on the adverse side-effects list.
A quarter of your brain is made up of cholesterol – a key ingredients in learning, memory and fast thinking. It’s only safe to assume that these cholesterol-lowering medications can have a detrimental effect on your brain health.
20 Drugs Known to Lead to Memory Loss
Here’s a list of 20 drugs which can cause memory loss as a potential side-effect, composed by Richard C. Mohs, former vice chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine:
- Parkinson’s disease– atropine, scopolamine, glycopyrrolate
- Painkillers– morphine, heroin, codeine
- Epilepsy– Dilantin or phenytoin
- Sleeping pills– Lunesta, Ambien, Sonata
- Benzodiazepines– Xanax, Valium, Dalmane, Ativan
- Antibiotics (quinolones).
- High blood pressure drugs.
- Beta blockers (especially those for glaucoma).
- Tricyclic antidepressants.
- Antipsychotics– Mellaril, Haldol.
- Chemotherapy drugs.
- Barbiturates– Nembutal, Amytal, Phenobarbital, Seconal.
What to Do?
Always consult your physician when using these drugs regarding the potential side-effects and if they could lead to memory loss. If you can find an alternative for them, some other prescription drug or just a change in your habits can go a long way.
If there’s no way around these harmful drugs and you just have to stay on them, start doing things that can promote your cognitive health and help you stay sharp despite the harmful side-effects. Start some form of physical exercise, brain-healthy diet or take some brain supplements and keep your brain in top form.