New research has shown a possible connection between dementia and popular over-the-counter medications, CBS New York reports.
Long-term use of an antihistamine known as diphenhydramine, which is in many popular sleeping aids, as well as medications for cold and allergies, can even cause irreparable harm.
One such study by Indiana University scientists showed they caused a reduction in brain functioning and smaller brain sizes, Health Newsline reports.
Researchers found that those taking drugs which contained promethazine and diphenhydramine did not do as well on short-term memory tests than those who did not take the medications.
They also did not perform as well on executive function tests, including problem solving and planning, than the other group.
Stanford Psychiastrist Barbara Sommer, an expert on anticholinergic drugs such as diphenhydramine, told CBS, “Whereas it’s always been thought if you stop anticholinergic drugs, all of the cognitive functions you’ve lost come back, now people aren’t so sure. And they’re worried that this may lead to or hasten the onset of dementia.”
However, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which represents the makers of over-the-counter medications used in the research, said in a statement: “
The active ingredients are approved by the FDA and recognized as safe and effective when taken as instructed.”