Memory can be affected by drugs you are taking for other parts of your body.

A study published this week in Neurology reported that hundreds of prescription drugs can affect your memory. The study concentrated on anticholinergics, a class of drugs that block the action of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.

Anticholinergics ( are used to treat incontinence, gastrointestinal disorders, Parkinson’s disease, asthma, dizziness, motion sickness, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

List of Drug – generic names ( details the list of drugs used as anticholinergics – atropine, belladonna alkaloids, benztropine mesylate, clidinium, cyclopentolate, darifenacin, dicyclomine, fesoterodine, flavoxate, glycopyrrolate, homatropine hydrobromide, hyoscyamine, ipratropium, orphenadrine, oxybutynin, propantheline, scopolamine, methscopolamine, solifenacin, tiotropium, tolterodine, trihexyphenidyl, and trospium.

Prescription Names

You might recognize them by the commercial drug names – Atropen, Cogentin, Cyclogyl, Enablex, Toviaz, Urispas, Levsinex, Atrovent, Ditropan XL, Pro-banthine, VESIcare, and Detrol. Interestingly enough, Benadryl has anticholinergic effects.

Drug Usage

It is rare nowadays for a person to be taking a single prescription medicine. The average elderly patients take more than five prescription medications. The average goes above seven prescription medicines when the patient is in a nursing home. It is estimated that 70 percent of the elderly are taking anticholinergic drugs.

Over thirty percent of patients prescribed anticholinergic drugs were taking near five different anticholinergic drugs and many take double or more of the dose prescribed. There were other drugs that affect mental clarity, but the anticholinergic drug accounted for a large percentage of those with dementia-like symptoms.


Anticholinergic drugs and other affect the chemical messengers in the body. These neurotransmitters are critical for memory recall. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether the drugs you are taking affect your memory. Do not stop taking any prescription drug you are on because you think it will help you. Always consult your physician before making any change in taking a drug or in the dosage of that drug.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –


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