It’s not a secret that every medication can have side effects: there is no magic pill that works wonders without compromising other health aspects. Particularly, it concerns long-term treatment. BorderHealth experts warn: some drugs should be takes cautiously since they might serious affect brain health. Some drugs that are used to treat the nervous system can cause undesirable effects, such as worsening of cognitive and emotional anxiety. Among these injuries is cognitive and emotional deterioration caused by some psychotropic drugs. But they are not the only drugs with side effects for the brain, many other drugs that we usually use can cause anxiety, stress, loss of memory and concentration, mood changes, and even how we treat others and ourselves. What are these medications? Let’s find it out.
The revelation that the intestine is one of our “second brains” (100 million neurons support this organ) implies that intestinal problems should logically and negatively affect the functioning of the brain. Particularly subtle is the effect of antibiotics on the microflora. Their excessive use can increase our level of stress and as a result, change our behavior.
Medications that cause depression
Some drugs significantly affect our mood, and their reuse can make you feel decay, irritability, aggressiveness. These include:
- Antihypertensives. Unfortunately, the consideration of mental health in the clinical practice of hypertension is minimal. For this reason, widely used drugs such as beta blockers have an undesirable effect on mood.
- Statins. Statins are prescribed to fight high cholesterol. But this drug affects not only the level of cholesterol in the blood, but also in the brain. And this leads to poor memory and irritability. As an alternative to this medicine, it is necessary to take vitamins B12 and B6 daily, as well as folic acid.
- Benzodiazepines. They are the most commonly used drugs for anxiety, they can predispose to unpleasant episodes of anger, anguish, irritability, memory difficulties.
- Stimulants. Their abuse can cause feelings of hostility, paranoia, and even psychotic episodes.
- As well as other medications, such as anti-asthmatics, antacids, some heart drugs, adrenaline, metoclopramide and benzodiazepines, such as diazepam, can cause mood swings and moods.
The list of medications that are suspected to contribute to depression is a mile long. Among them are those used to control nausea and dizziness (antiemetics and cynaricin), anticonvulsants, bronchodilators, some anti-inflammatory drugs, antithyroid drugs, corticosteroids and oral contraceptives. According to the latest research, the long-term effects of statins, anti-asthmatics, drugs for controlling hypertension, and even those struggling with baldness are added to this long list.
Medications that affect memory
Some common antipsychotics can cause brain changes, but memory of all kinds of drugs also affects memory. Here are possible outcomes and what they’re triggered by:
- Memory failures. Anticholinergics (common in treating asthma and urinary incontinence), as well as some antidepressants, ranitidine, diazepam, some antihypertensive drugs, can lead to memory failure. This is because these drugs affect the levels of acetylcholine, a substance necessary for the proper functioning of memory.
- Loss of active memory. Similarly, anxiolytics, antacids and antihypertensive drugs act on the central nervous system and can reduce short-term memory capacity.
- Decreased ability to memorize. Drugs that cause sleep (for example, benzodiazepines and other psychotropic drugs) do not do everything else because they prevent access to the REM phase.
Medications and Alzheimer’s Disease
Higher use of anticholinergic drugs, such as antidepressants or those indicated to combat allergies or bladder problems, increase the risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
This effect cannot be reversible, even if the medication is stopped. The threat continues no matter how many years have passed. Finally, prolonged use of antacids and tranquilizers also increases the risk of developing dementia.
In the recent research, Canadian scientists revealed that Anticholinergic drugs can lead to cognitive impairment and an increased risk of dementia. They negatively affect brain metabolism and cause brain atrophy. In a short term, that means problems with memory, in long term — serious health conditions.
What else affect overall brain functioning?
The following products can appear to be pretty dangerous:
- Anticonvulsant drugs. They are prescribed for frequent convulsive seizures, neuralgia, bipolar disorders, manias, and sudden mood swings. Drugs reduce the flow of signals to the central nervous system (CNS). And this leads to loss of memory. Anticonvulsants can be replaced without pain by phenytoin or venlafaxine, which do not affect memory.
- Soothing preparations (benzodiazepines). These drugs are prescribed for the treatment of various anxiety disorders, convulsions, for the treatment of insomnia. These drugs negatively affect the activity of the brain regions that are responsible for short-term and long-term memory. That is why these drugs are often used for general anesthesia. To eliminate memory problems, benzodiazepines should be taken for a short period of time. These drugs are not recommended for taking older people.
- Antidepressants (tricyclic antidepressants – TCA).They are prescribed for depression, anxiety disorders, chronic pain, eating disorders and during menopause. TCAs lead to poor memory and concentration because while blocking the action of serotonin and norepinephrine. To avoid negative effects from the administration of TCAs, you can reduce the dose or apply psychotherapy.
- Strong painkillers (opioid analgesics). These drugs are prescribed for severe chronic pain (such as that caused by rheumatoid arthritis). Unfortunately, they block pain signals in the central nervous system and dull the emotional response to pain. With long-term use of painkillers, long-term and short-term memory becomes worse. They can be replaced by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which do not have such side effects.
Also, ADR agonists, dopamine receptor agonists, hypertension drugs (beta-blockers), hypnotics (not benzodiazepines), incontinence drugs (anticholinergics) and antihistamines (first-generation drugs) also have a negative effect on memory. As you see, there’s a huge variety of drugs that can affect brain functionality and health. Experts from BorderHealth Canadian Pharmacy recommend searching for natural alternatives and consulting with a doctor before you start a long-term treatment with any of these medications. Take care!