Dementia Risk when taking medications

E. Handy

A variety of variables influence your chance of getting dementia, some of which you can control and others that you cannot. Your family history, for example, is purely random, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t change your age. Diet, alcohol consumption, and pharmaceutical usage, on the other hand, are deemed adjustable.

The researchers discovered that short-term usage of this kind of medicine was linked to the development of dementia

A new study cautions that taking one type of drug in particular may boost your chance of acquiring dementia later in life—and that’s not the only disadvantage. Continue reading to find out which regularly prescribed drugs may be putting you at risk, and why even short-term usage might be dangerous.
According to a 2021 article released by Psychiatric Times, benzodiazepines, sometimes known as “benzos,” have been linked to an increased risk of dementia. Benzodiazepines are psychotropic medications that are used to treat anxiety, seizures, and insomnia. They include Klonopin, Valium, Librium, and Ativan, as well as their generic equivalents and some additional pharmaceuticals.
A 2016 research published in BMJ and included in the article examined how long patients used benzodiazepines in relation to cognitive results. The researchers discovered that short-term usage of this kind of medicine was linked to the development of dementia. “It is unclear if long-term usage is connected with worldwide cognitive loss,” stated the study’s authors. This contradicts the generally held belief that benzodiazepines are safe for short-term use, which is typically characterized as two to four weeks for this medicine.

“Although no randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been conducted to investigate the link between benzodiazepine usage and the risk of dementia,” the paper states. “However, six prospective cohort studies, six case control studies, and one retrospective cohort research have been conducted.” Eight of the 13 research cited in the paper found a link between benzodiazepine usage and dementia, while two others found mixed or unclear results. The other investigations discovered no clear correlation.
Experts caution that benzodiazepines have long been related to a variety of potentially dangerous adverse effects. According to the BMJ report, “these medications are connected with several adverse consequences, including falls, fractures, traffic collisions, and delirium.”

Side effects from benzodiazepines

Benzos are also known to produce sleepiness, disorientation, impaired vision, loss of motor control, slurred speech, delayed breathing, muscular weakness, and other side effects. You should not, however, try to stop using on your own. Speak with your doctor about how to properly taper off benzodiazepines.
Experts warn that, in addition to increasing the risk of dementia and causing other negative effects, benzos can become addictive. According to the American Addiction Centers, “benzodiazepines operate by decreasing nerve activity in the brain and the rest of the central nervous system, therefore dispersing stress and its physical and emotional adverse effects.” In addition to their sedative effects, benzodiazepines have been linked to the production of “Dopamine is a chemical messenger in the brain that is involved in reward and pleasure. After a few weeks of using benzos, the brain may learn to expect them and hence cease striving to manufacture these chemicals on its own without them.”

Many users have grown reliant on benzodiazepines as a result of their addictive characteristics and many doctors’ inclination to over-prescribe the medicine. Speak with your doctor if you feel you are having unpleasant benzo side effects or if you have acquired drug-seeking tendencies as a result of their usage.