What are Allergy Medications Actually Doing to Us?

Pills medication

This is the time of year when allergies are at their worst. As a result a lot people start reaching for over the counter allergy medications and usually it's because they think that is the only option they have to fight off the constant runny nose, sinus congestion, and itchy red eyes. But what are these medications really dong to out bodies? Ne research has shown it's doing a lot and most of it isn't good. 

A new study, published a few weeks ago, offers the most definite proof yet of what scientists have known for at least a decade: that anticholinergic drugs are linked with cognitive impairment and an increased risk of dementia. Though you may have never heard of this class of drug, you’ve certainly heard of the medications themselves, including Benadryl, Demerol, Dimetapp, Dramamine, Paxil, Unisom and VESIcare (for a complete list of drugs click here). They are sold over the counter and by prescription as sleep aids and to reduce allergy symptoms.

The new study is the first to examine the physical changes that serve as the catalyst for cognitive decline. Using brain imaging techniques, researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine found lower metabolism and reduced brain sizes among study participants taking anticholinergic drugs. “These findings provide us with a much better understanding of how this class of drugs may act upon the brain in ways that might raise the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia,” said Shannon Risacher, an assistant professor of radiology and imaging sciences.


The study looked at 451 people, with an average age of 73. Sixty of them were taking at least one medication with medium or high anticholinergic activity. To identify physical and physiological changes that could be associated with the reported effects, researchers assessed the results of memory and cognitive tests; PET scans, to measure brain metabolism; and MRI scans, to assess brain structure. The cognitive tests revealed that people taking anticholinergic drugs performed worse on short-term memory tests and some tests of executive function, including verbal reasoning, planning and problem-solving. Anticholinergic drug users also showed lower levels of glucose metabolism — a biomarker for brain activity — in the region of the brain associated with memory and which has been identified as affected early by Alzheimer’s disease. The participants using anticholinergic drugs were also found to have reduced brain volume and larger ventricles, the cavities inside the brain.

You may be wondering what you can do then to reduce allergy symptoms and sleep better without increasing the risk for Alzheimer's or Dementia. A great option is working to correct the cause of the allergies and the reaason for the lost sleep. Allergies are an increased reaction to things found in our environment every day. By improving how the body can work and function, we can decrease this hyperreaction of the immune system that is creating the allergy symptoms to begin with. Chiropractic helps to do just that. Since it is the nerves that control how the body works and functions, improving the function of the nervous system can change that hyperreaction. Chiropractic works to improve nerve function. As those nerves can better communicate with the body the immune system can function better allowing allergy symptoms to naturally reduce.

If you would like more information about how chiropractic can help with allergies check out our allergy webinar at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP7055US6NI&feature=em-upload_owner or call us at 269-792-9952.



Information from http://fox13now.com/2016/04/19/study-common-allergy-medications-can-damage-brain-increase-dementia-risk/