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HAYFEVER PILLS RAISE RISK OF ALZHEIMER'S; Researchers also warn about over-the-counter sleeping tablets.


OVER-THE-COUNTER hayfever pills and sleeping tablets can increase the risk of Alzheimer's, a study warned yesterday.

The findings have "public health implications" about "potential safety risks", according to scientists in the US.

Other drugs for depression and bladder control were also linked to a higher incidence of dementia.

The drugs have an "anticholinergic" effect, which blocks a chemical transmitter in the nervous system that people with Alzheimer's lack.

Experts at the University of Washington school of pharmacy tracked the health of 3434 people over 65 and their use of anticholinergic drugs, such as the antihistamine diphenhydramine, for seven years.

During the study, 637 developed Alzheimer's and 160 got other forms of dementia.

For people on high doses of the medication, the risk of dementia was 54 per cent higher compared with no use. The report said: "These findings have public health implications for the health of older adults about potential safety risks because some anticholinergics are available as overthe-counter products." The study, published in journal Jama Internal Medicine, showed people were at higher risk if they took at least 10mg a day of antidepressant doxepin, 4mg a day of diphenhydramine or 5mg a day of bladder control drug oxybutynin for more than three years.

Dr Simon Ridley, of Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "This large study adds to some existing evidence linking anticholinergic drugs to a small increased risk of dementia but the results don't tell us that these drugs cause the condition.

"Continued research to shed light on these links will be important for helping understand the benefits and potential risks of these drugs.

"Anyone who is worried about the medication they are taking should seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist before stopping a course of treatment."


CONCERN Hayfever sufferers

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 27, 2015
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