Anticholinergics and dementia

Antidepressant, urological, and antiparkinson drugs with strong anticholinergic activity are linked to future dementia incidence. The link is evident with drug use up to 20 years prior to diagnosis of dementia, according to case-control study published in the British Medical Journal (

Anticholinergic drugs used to manage urological conditions have been consistently associated with short-term cognitive decline so a long-term risk of dementia is plausible, say the authors. Lower urinary tract symptoms have been linked to future dementia incidence and may be a symptom of early neurodegeneration; however, to account for their findings, urinary incontinence would need to be a substantial risk factor for dementia diagnosed 15­–20 years later, they say.


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