Medications that Could Lead to Memory Loss

By , 9:00 am on

Some forgetfulness is expected with aging, but experts now know memory loss isn’t inevitable. In some cases, the medications seniors depend on can result in forgetfulness and confusion. If your loved one is having memory loss problems you feel are unusual, talk to the doctor about whether one of your loved one’s medications may be the cause. There are many medications that may cause memory problems, so do your research and work with the doctor to find a solution. There are often alternative drugs or other therapies that can promote memory and cognitive functioning. If your senior loved one has been more forgetful than normal, review the following medications.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, delirium, and insomnia and to prevent seizures. After a benzodiazepine is taken, short-term memory isn’t affected, but long-term memory may be impaired. These drugs may cause memory problems because events aren’t transferred from short-term memory to long-term memory and therefore aren’t consolidated into memory storage. 

Statins

Statins are used to treat high cholesterol. However, the brain contains 25 percent of all the cholesterol in the body, so lowering those levels can cause cognitive impairment. In 2012, the FDA ordered labels must be put on these prescriptions warning of possible memory problems. These side effects usually reverse once people stop taking the medications. Evidence of a cause-effect relationship is limited, but seniors should talk to their doctors if they experience memory loss or confusion while they’re taking statins.

Aging adults who need help managing mental and physical health issues can benefit from the assistance of a highly trained professional caregiver. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of at-home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants are prescribed for many ailments other than depression, such as anxiety, hot flashes, eating disorders, and chronic pain. Approximately 35 percent of adults taking these drugs report some memory impairment, and about 54 percent report difficulty with concentrating. It’s believed these medications block serotonin and norepinephrine—two of the brain’s most essential chemical messengers—from being able to transport brain messages.

Narcotic Painkillers

Narcotic painkillers, also called opioids, are used to relieve moderate to severe chronic pain. These drugs dull the pain signals and the brain’s emotional reaction to pain, which interferes with other cognitive functions. If used for long periods, they can cause long- and short-term memory problems.

Dopamine Agonists

Used to treat Parkinson’s disease, these medications affect the supply of dopamine to the brain. Side effects can include not only memory loss but also drowsiness, delusions, confusion, and hallucinations. 

A trained home caregiver can monitor your loved one for side effects of medications. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Kingwood Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Beta-Blockers

These drugs are prescribed to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. Doctors typically prescribe beta-blockers for hypertension, abnormal heart rhythms, and congestive heart failure. Beta-blockers are also prescribed for the treatment of tremors, migraine headaches, and chest pain due to angina. Similar to tricyclic antidepressants, these drugs are suspected of causing memory issues by interfering with key chemical messengers in the brain, including epinephrine and norepinephrine.

If your loved one is experiencing memory loss due to an age-related condition such as dementia, help is just a phone call away. For trusted and reliable dementia care, Kingwood families can turn to Home Care Assistance. We are experts in caring for seniors with memory-related conditions, our caregivers are available 24/7, and all of our dementia care programs are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at 832-412-1345.