The British Medical Journal has reported that anticholinergic medicines which are used for treating conditions like Parkinson's disease, urinary incontinence, and irritable bowel syndrome may result in mild cognitive impairment in the case of old people. The researchers who were involved in the study interviewed as many as 372 elderly people who had no record of drug use and dementia. The cognitive performance of the drug users was lesser when in comparison to the non-users.
Even after taking account the other known risk factors for cognitive impairment, anticholinergic drugs remained the most highly significant predictor of this condition, say the authors.
Given the aim of identifying mild cognitive impairment is the early treatment of dementia, people with mild cognitive impairment due to anticholinergic drugs could be in the absurd situation of receiving pro-cholinergic drugs to counteract the effects of anticholinergic agents, according to the authors.
They suggest that doctors assess the current use of anticholinergic drugs in elderly people with mild cognitive impairment before considering treatment for dementia.