Using anticholinergic medications over depression promotes higher dementia risks, confirmed by the researchers from the University of East Anglia after analyzing the patients who had long been suffering through Parkinson’s disease, depression or bladder conditions and prescribed with heavy dosage of certain anticholinergics.


Incontinence medications and antidepressants from one of the class of anticholinergic drugs that are widely prescribed the United Kingdom and United States, are recently linked by University of East Anglia scientists with a positive diagnosis of the higher risk of dementia, even though the medicines were consumed 20 or more years before the detection of cognitive impairment.

Findings of the study have been disclosed in the international peer-reviewed medical journal – the BMJ, which titled as ‘Anticholinergic Medication and Risk of Dementia: Case-control Study’. The team examined the medical records by following 40,770 patients ageing between 65 and 99 along with the comparison between dementia detection from April 2006 to July 2015 and 283,933 people who didn’t have dementia risk.

Co-author of the study and Aging Research investigator at the Indiana University Center, Noll Campbell, PharmD, MS said that, “Anticholinergics, medications that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have previously been implicated as a potential cause of cognitive impairment. This study is large enough to evaluate the long-term effect and determine that harm may be experienced years before a diagnosis of dementia is made.”

George Savva from the School of Health Sciences of the University of East Anglia reported that, “This research is really important because there are an estimated 350 million people affected globally by depression.”