Many times when a problem arises either with our own health, body and mental or cognitive functions (knock on wood) we go to see a physician. Whatever the problem may be, most times people are prescribed a medication. Some synthetic, man-made pill that is developed to cover or eradicate certain symptoms but bound to contain some adverse side effects. Now there are many theories for why this is the case, such as big pharmaceuticals wanting to keep pumping out pills and products to turn a profit or because recommending an all natural, whole food based diet is not profitable for physicians and the pharmaceutical industry.
But sometimes the most ‘harmless’ pill can contain some strange side effects. Some of these include hair loss, loss of appetite or insomnia.
Here are 12 medications that can have a deleterious effect on your memory. Please note that this is based on a handful of experiences reported by people who have used these medications. For any health concern you may have about your own medications, you should always contact your physician and ask him about it. Don’t take the advice on this list to heart; it might put your health at risk! Please proceed with caution and only trust a medical professional when it comes to your medications (present or future).
1. Sleeping pills do not generally improve the quality of one’s sleep since it induces a state similar to that of being drunk or in a coma.
Some people have reported that it almost always results in memory loss. People have felt so drowsy prior to falling asleep that they have very little recollection of those previous events.
2. Statins are drugs that regulate cholesterol levels. They play a huge and, in some cases, damaging role in the function of the brain.
These results occur because a quarter of the brain is composed of cholesterol which plays a key role in thinking, learning, and memory. By reducing or playing with these cholesterol levels, it can create an adverse effect to those three aspects; thinking, learning and memory.
3. All drugs that have an ‘anti-’ before their name can have adverse effects on one’s memory. Medication such as antibiotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-psychotics, and anti-spasmodic all have an effect on a neurotransmitter in the brain.
This neurotransmitter is acetylcholine, which plays a key role in memory and learning. Low levels of acetylcholine can cause dementia, delirium, blurred vision, mental confusion, hallucinations and of course memory loss.
4. Benzodiazepines are drugs that help deal with anxiety. These drugs are usually administered against anxiety disorders, agitation, muscle spasms and delirium.
But these drugs also suppress certain areas of the brain that deal with the transferal of data from short-term to long-term. These drugs are used by anesthesiologists for this particular reason.
Medical experts recommend using these drugs for short periods of time only and not for extended duration.
5. Antidepressant drugs or tricyclic antidepressants are designed not only for depression but also for eating disorders, chronic pain and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD.)
But according to a research study, a third of adults taking these drugs reported having memory loss and nearly half of the adults reported difficulty concentrating.
6. Hypertension drugs or beta-blockers are designed to help slow your heart rate and also to lower blood pressure.
This, in turn, creates the adverse side effect of ‘blocking’ or negating crucial chemicals like epinephrine and norepinephrine which can cause memory loss.
7. Anti-seizure drugs. Drugs that not only help to reduce or totally eliminate the onset of seizures but they also deal with bipolar disorder, mood disorders, mania and nerve pain.
These drugs are designed to work through the ‘dampening’ of signals released by the Central Nervous System (CNS.) Any drug that alters that flow of signals can cause memory loss.
8. Narcotic painkillers. As their name suggests, these are meant to be prescribed as medication to deal with severe, mild or lingering pain. Although this drug is commonly misused, its effectiveness comes from its ability to stem the flow of pain signals from within the CNS.
It also acts to dull someone’s emotional reaction to pain. Both of these effects can interfere with someone’s ability to store information on the short and long-term.
9. Drugs that are used to treat Parkinson’s disease, restless leg syndrome and some pituitary tumors act on the signal firings of the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical messenger that deals with motivation, feelings of pleasure, fine motor control, memory, and learning.
A reliance on these drugs can lead to harmful side effects such as memory loss, delusions, hallucinations and compulsive behaviors such as gambling and binge-eating.
10. Incontinence drugs are used to deal with an overactive bladder. It is usually used to help soften or eliminate the feeling of a sudden and strong urge to urinate.
Acetylcholine is a chemical in the brain that deals with a wide assortment of bodily functions. This brain chemical not only deals with the anticholinergics in the bladder but also deal with the anticholinergics in the brain. Thus, taking an incontinence drug can not only affect the chemicals in the bladder but also the chemicals in your head.
11. Antihistamines are used to relieve or prevent symptoms of an allergy or a cold. They are commonly prescribed and many people have used them before and may have even experienced some of these side effects before!
These drugs also inhibit the effectiveness of acetylcholine which affects brain function that includes memory and learning.
12. Other drugs that can induce memory loss (short and long-term) include insulin, chemotherapy drugs, barbiturates, antipsychotics, quinidine, interferons, naproxen, lithium, methyldopa, and steroids. Some over the counter drugs that can cause memory loss include Advil and Benadryl.
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