Wednesday, February 17, 2016

More Commonly Used Medications (PPIs) Linked to Dementia

See PPIs listed by NIH
We're bombarded with news about drug safety issues and it's easy to tune out. The last thing I read could impact a lot of folks I know--and a lot of ASHA staff--so I want to point it out. There was a study published in JAMA on February 15 linking dementia in older adults to the use of proton pump inhibitors like Nexium which is now available over the counter. Last year, it was anticholinergic drugs, including popular non-prescription sleep aids and the antihistamine Benadryl, and increased risk of developing dementia. This is scary stuff. 

Many people feel it's safe to take medications that are available over the counter. Generally, they've been on the market a very long time and have gone from being new brand name drugs, to generics, to something you can pick up without a prescription. You expect that these drugs have been tested well enough and used long enough by enough people for the side effects to be known.  That confidence is clearly misplaced. 

Always ask your physician or pharmacist about alternatives--see Behavior #2 about asking the 5 questions recommended in the Choosing Wisely campaign--before taking any medication. 

If you prefer, here's an easy to read summary that was published in Forbes. 

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