There are many factors that play a role in memory impairment, including alcohol and drug abuse, heavy smoking, head injuries, stroke, sleep deprivation, severe stress and illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
Some of these are commonly known to affect memory, but there is one huge factor causing memory loss that is often overlooked. Many commonly prescribed drugs can interfere with memory.
If you’re currently taking medication and are having trouble remembering things, one of these may be the culprit.
Every year, prescription drugs are responsible for more than 100,000 deaths and lead to over 1.5 cases of hospitalized people who experienced severe side-effects. Adverse drug reactions are the top leading reason of death in the United States. Every prescription drug carries some risk, but one of the most common side-effects is memory loss.
3 Types of Medications That Cause Memory Loss
Any prescription drug falls into one of the three categories which are known to cause memory loss and many cognitive problems:
1. The “Anti” Drugs
Every drug that starts with “anti” including antidepressants, antihistamines, antipsychotics, antispasmodics, antibiotics or antihypertensive will affect your acetylcholine level.
The primary neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory is acetylcholine. When there is low-level of acetylcholine, the following conditions may occur delirium, mental confusion, blurred vision, hallucinations, memory loss, and dementia.
2. Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills are notorious for their potential to cause memory loss.
Ambien, the popular drug was claimed to be “the amnesia drug” because those who use it experience sleep walking, night terrors, hallucinations and sleep driving.
It is found that sleeping pills can cause a state similar to being drunk or being in a coma. So, people who use these pills do not experience the restorative sleep the brain needs in order to maintain and repair itself.
However, there are many other ways to fall asleep than using sleeping pills.
3. Statin Drugs
Statin drugs are popular cholesterol-lowering drugs which are one of the worst groups of medications for your brain. They lead to memory loss, which should be listed on the label as a serious side-effect.
One-quarter of your brain is composed of cholesterol which is important for learning, memory and fast thinking. So, these cholesterol-lowering medications seriously affect the brain health.
20 Drugs Known to Lead to Memory Loss
The following list of medications can cause memory loss as a potential side-effect:
- 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
This list was composed by Richard C. Mohs, former vice chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
What to Do?
When using some of these drugs, consult your doctor if they affect your memory in some way. Try to find some better options, different medications or just try to change your lifestyle habits.
If have to use them, take some proactive steps to reduce the load on your brain such as practicing some physical exercise, brain-healthy diet or take some brain supplements.
Provide your brain the healthiest conditions to stay healthy and sharp in spite of these harmful drugs.
Source: Be Brain Fit