Today, scientists are aware of the fact that as we get older, memory loss is not inevitable. Actually, the brain grows new cells and reshapes their connection.
There are many factors that can impair memory, including drug and alcohol abuse, heavy smoking, head injuries, sleep deprivation, severe stress, vitamin B12 deficiency and diseases like Alzheimer’s.
However, some prescribed drugs can also affect your memory. Sadly, prescription drugs are the reason for over 100.000 deaths every year, and nearly 1.5 million people end up in hospitals because of the severe side effects.
Some of these drugs cause so severe side effects that they have been found to affect the brain tissue and cause memory loss. Here are the 3 categories known to cause memory loss and cognitive problems:
These cholesterol-lowering medications might just be the single worst group of drugs for your brain. Memory loss is now required to be listed as a side effect on the label.
One-quarter of your brain is made up of cholesterol. Cholesterol is necessary for memory, learning, and fast thinking. So it is not a total surprise that cholesterol-lowering drugs negatively effect the brain.
The sleeping pills can cause long-term memory loss, but also short-term memory loss. In fact, some researchers found that all sleeping pills are producing some level of impaired memory and performance. Sleeping pills suppress the action potentials of a wide variety of brain cells and reduce our alertness, vigilance, and judgment.
Some sleeping pills can cause a state similar to “blacking out” that occurs when some person has too much alcohol in the body and can’t remember previous situations due to damaged brain cells.
3.The ”Anti” drugs
The anti-drugs, including antipsychotics, antispasmodics, antidepressants, antibiotics, antihypertensives, antihistamines, affect the levels of acetylcholine in the body, the main neurotransmitter for memory and learning.
Low levels of acetylcholine can cause blurred vision, mental confusion, hallucinations, dementia, delirium, and memory loss. Anticholinergic are drugs that block the effects of acetylcholine. Side effects of anticholinergics:
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Loss of bladder control
- Difficulty to urinate
Richard C. Mohs, former vice chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, composed the following list which includes 20 drugs which cause memory loss:
- Drugs for high blood pressure
- Painkillers: heroin, codeine, morphine
- For Parkinson’s disease – glycopyrrolate, atropine, or scopolamine
- Sleeping pills
- Chemotherapy drugs
- For epilepsy – Dilantin, and phenytoin
What you can do next
Are you taking any of these medications? If so, we recommend you talk to your doctor if you believe it’s affecting your memory.
Get your doctor to work with you to find better options – different prescriptions and/or making healthy lifestyle choices – instead.
Even if you have to stay on your medication, you can lessen the load on your brain by taking proactive steps such as eating a brain-healthy diet, getting the physical exercise your brain needs, and taking the right brain supplements.
Give your brain the healthiest possible environment to stay mentally sharp in spite of your medications.