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Is Oxybutynin Linked To Dementia

Strengths And Weaknesses In Relation To Other Studies

Oxybutynin and dementia

Many studies have linked anticholinergic drug use with concurrent or short term cognitive effects, but few have examined associations of long term anticholinergic exposure 8 the latter tend to report positive associations.121415 Our findings are consistent with these studies, particularly a US cohort study of 3434 participants monitored over an average of seven years.12 Anticholinergic antidepressants were linked to dementia incidence, consistent with our results, however, the authors did not test specific classes of the remaining anticholinergics. A US case-control study of 141940 nursing home residents with depression found a greater adjusted odds ratio of 1.24 for anticholinergic drugs use in the 90 days before a diagnosis of dementia based on administrative data.15

Our study uses a longer patient history in a larger sample of patients. This enables a much more granular disaggregation of the effects of specific drug classes in different periods before diagnosis, and in the depth of confounding control possible using complete primary care records, which enables exploration of alternative explanations for observed associations. Together these aspects substantially narrow the target of potential harm. Although set in the UK, our findings are likely generalisable to other developed countries.

A Fifth Type Of Medication That Affects Brain Function

Opiate pain medications. Unlike the other drugs mentioned above, opiates are not on the Beers list of medications that older adults should avoid. That said, they do seem to dampen thinking abilities a bit, even in long-term users. As far as I know, opiates are not thought to accelerate long-term cognitive decline.

  • Commonly prescribed opiates include hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, methadone, hydromorphone, and fentanyl.
  • Tramadol is a weaker opiate with weaker prescribing controls.
  • Many geriatricians consider it more problematic than the classic Schedule II opiates listed above, as it interacts with a lot of medications and still affects brain function. Its a dirty drug, as one of my friends likes to say.
  • Alternatives depend on what type of pain is present. Generally, if people are taking opiates then they have pain that needs to be treated. However, a thoughtful holistic approach to pain often enables a person to get by with less medication, which can improve thinking abilities.
  • For people who have moderate or severe dementia, its important to know that untreated pain can worsen their thinking. So sometimes a low dose of opiate medication does end up improving their thinking.
  • Other risks in older adults:
  • There is some risk of developing a problematic addiction, especially if theres a prior history of substance abuse. But in my experience, having someone else usually younger steal or use the drugs is a more likely problem.
  • Two Common Classes Of Drugs Have Been Linked To Dementia Fortunately There Are Alternatives To Both

    Image: Thinkstock

    If you’re worried about developing dementia, you’ve probably memorized the list of things you should do to minimize your riskeating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and keeping your mind and soul engaged. In addition, some of the drugs you may be taking to help you accomplish those things could increase your risk of dementia. In two separate large population studies, both benzodiazepines and anticholinergics were associated with an increased risk of dementia in people who used them for longer than a few months. In both cases, the effect increased with the dose of the drug and the duration of use.

    These findings didn’t come entirely as a surprise to doctors who treat older people. The Beer’s List published by the American Geriatrics Society has long recognized benzodiazepines, antihistamines, and tricyclic antidepressants as potentially inappropriate for older adults, given their side effects. Such drugs are on the list because they share troubling side effectsconfusion, clouded thinking, and memory lapsesthat can lead to falls, fractures, and auto accidents.

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    Whats The Bottom Line

    Its possible, but not proven, that some anticholinergic drugs increase the risk of dementia. If you need long-term treatment for one of the relevant medical conditions, talk to your doctor about other medication options that are not in the anticholinergic class, such as antidepressants like Celexa and Prozac. In many cases, there may be choices.

    What Are Anticholinergic Drugs

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    Anticholinergic drugs are a class of drugs that treat a wide group of conditions, including allergies, colds, high blood pressure, depression, Parkinsons disease, epilepsy, COPD, urinary incontinence and overactive bladders.

    Anticholinergic drugs work by blocking acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that stimulates the autonomic nerves that regulate contractions in the lungs, airways, blood vessels, cardiovascular system, urinary tract, and GI tract. Anticholinergic drugs help to relax these muscles, which is why they can lead to side effects like dry mouth and constipation.

    In the brain, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is involved in learning and memory, which is why confusion and memory problems are also common side effects of many anticholinergic drugs.

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    What Happens When You Stop Taking Oxybutynin

    4.7/5OxybutyninYouOxybutyninYoustop taking oxybutyninin-depth answer

    Peak concentrations are reached within half to one hour. Effects of immediate release oxybutynin tablets are relatively short-lived but may last up to eight hours.

    One may also ask, is it safe to take oxybutynin long term? Oxybutynin is used for longterm treatment. It comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

    Secondly, when can I stop taking oxybutynin?

    Do not stop taking oxybutynin without talking to your doctor. You may notice some improvement in your symptoms within the first 2 weeks of your treatment. However, it may take 68 weeks to experience the full benefit of oxybutynin. Talk to your doctor if your symptoms do not improve at all within 8 weeks.

    What happens if I stop taking tolterodine?

    If you experience any of the following symptoms stop taking tolterodine and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment: swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, and eyes. difficulty swallowing or breathing.

    Design Study Setting And Participants

    This population-based prospective cohort study was conducted within Group Health , an integrated health-care delivery system in the northwest US. Participants were from the Adult Changes in Thought study and details about study procedures have been detailed elsewhere. Briefly, study participants aged 65 years and older were randomly sampled from Seattle-area GH members. Participants with dementia were excluded. The original cohort of 2,581 participants was enrolled between 1994 and 1996. An additional 811 participants were enrolled between 2000 and 2003. In 2004 the study began continuous enrollment to replace those who die or drop out. Participants were assessed at study entry and returned biennially to evaluate cognitive function and collect demographic characteristics, medical history, health behaviors and health status. The current study sample was limited to participants with at least 10 years of GH health plan enrollment prior to study entry to permit sufficient and equal ascertainment of cumulative anticholinergic exposure. The study sample was further limited to those with at least one follow-up study visit, as this is necessary to detect incident dementia. Of the 4,724 participants enrolled in ACT, 3,434 were eligible for the current study . Data through Sept 2012 were included in these analyses. The research protocol for this study was reviewed and approved by the GH and University of Washingtons institutional review boards.

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    Cognitive Effects Of Oab Antimuscarinics In Double

    Several prospective, randomised, double-blind, clinical studies have evaluated the effects of antimuscarinic drugs on cognitive function at steady state , as summarised in . Oxybutynin was evaluated in four studies involving a total of 315 subjects, and was consistently associated with deterioration in cognitive function. By contrast, darifenacin administration compared with placebo, in three studies involving a total of 302 subjects, resulted in no significant effect on learning or memory in healthy adults .

    Why These Drugs Have A Stronger Effect In Older People

    Dementia: Link to Antidepressants and Bladder Medicines Discovered by UEA Researchers (Research)

    As we age, our ability to process medication changes. The kidneys and liver clear drugs more slowly, so drug levels in the blood remain higher for a longer time. People also gain fat and lose muscle mass over time. Both these changes affect the way drugs are distributed to and broken down in body tissues. And because these drugs are stored in body fat, they can continue to produce effects days after people stop taking them, especially in people with a higher proportion of body fat. In addition, older people tend to take more prescription and over-the-counter medications, each of which has the potential to suppress or enhance the effects of the others.

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    A Common Medication That May Cause Or Worsen Dementia


    An analysis conducted over the last year is raising some concern over a common drug used to treat overactive bladder that is being highly prescribed in the US. The analysis has shown that a drug, oxybutynin, when taken orally, is consistently linked with cognitive impairment and dementia in the elderly. Oxybutynin, is prescribed in more than a quarter of cases of overactive bladder , even though other medications are available that would be just as effective without this side effect.


    Overactive bladder is extremely common in males and females over 65. Initial treatment is normally through bladder training programs which help modify behavior, which can then be followed by first-line medical treatment such as antimuscarinic medications, including oxybutynin. Antimuscarinic drugs are compounds that are synthetic produced, originally formulated from mushrooms, which block the activity of the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor. They have several uses, including control of OAB. Oxybutynin is the least expensive antimuscarinic used for OAB, and so tends to be the drug of choice for health care plans such as Medicare. However, a body of evidence has shown that oxybutynin is linked to greater cognitive decline in the elderly.

    The Analysis:

    Around 16% of US adults suffer from overactive bladder, which translates into tens of millions of sufferers in the US.


    People Should Not Stop Their Therapy But Talk To Their Health Care Provider

    Prof. Gray urges people not to stop their therapy based on the findings of this study they should talk to their health care provider, and also tell them about all their over-the-counter drug use.

    Health care providers should regularly review their older patients drug regimens including over-the-counter medications to look for chances to use fewer anticholinergic medications at lower doses, she says.

    If providers need to prescribe anticholinergics to their patients because they offer the best treatment, then they should use the lowest effective dose, monitor the therapy regularly to ensure its working, and stop the therapy if its ineffective, she adds.

    Although the link between raised risk of dementia and anticholinergics has been found before, the new study uses more rigorous methods including over 7 years of follow-up to establish the strength of the link. By accessing pharmacy records, the researchers were also able to include non-prescription use of anticholinergics in their data.

    It is also the first study to show a dose-response effect, note the authors. That is, the higher the cumulative amount of drug taken, the higher the risk of developing dementia.

    And another first for the study, is that it also shows that dementia risk linked to anticholinergics may persist long after people stop taking the drugs.

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    Implications For Clinicians And Policymakers

    The associations reported here are moderate , but given the high incidence of dementia they reflect an appreciable risk to patients. For example, the odds ratio for dementia associated with any use of antidepressants with an ACB score of 3 15-20 years before the index date is 1.19 . A typical patient aged 65-70 might normally expect a period incidence of dementia of around 10% over the next 15 years,36 so this odds ratio would be consistent with an absolute risk increase of 2% over that period, corresponding to a number needed to harm of 50 . Possible explanations for our findings are that other actions of specific groups of anticholinergic drugs may underlie observed effects, or that the drugs are markers of prodromal symptoms or dementia risk factors. Alternatively, the class specific association we have observed may reflect a difference in the ability of different groups of anticholinergics to cross the blood-brain barrier.

    Anticholinergic urological drugs, particularly oxybutynin, have been consistently associated with short term cognitive decline in randomised controlled trials,841 so a long term risk of dementia is plausible. Lower urinary tract symptoms themselves have been linked to future dementia incidence and may be a symptom of early neurodegeneration.4243 To account for our finding, urinary incontinence would need to be a substantial risk factor for dementia diagnosed 15-20 years later.

    What Did The New Study Involve

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    The research, conducted by Carol Coupland, a professor of medical statistics in primary care at the University of Nottingham in England, and colleagues, evaluated anticholinergic drugs prescribed to nearly 285,000 people age 55 and older. About 59,000 of them had a diagnosis of dementia. The information came from a database of medical records from patients in more than 1,500 general practices in Britain, the authors said.

    Researchers looked at the medical records of patients who were diagnosed with dementia and examined the drugs they had been prescribed from 11 years to one year before their diagnosis. They compared their medications during that time frame with those of people who did not have a diagnosis of dementia. They recorded which of 56 anticholinergic medications people were prescribed, and at what dose and how long. They accounted for factors like body mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption, other medical conditions and use of other medications.

    The study found a 50 percent increased risk of dementia among people who used a strong anticholinergic drug daily for about three years within that 10-year period. The association was stronger for antidepressants, bladder drugs, antipsychotics and epilepsy medications, the study said. Researchers did not find any increased risk of dementia with antihistamines, bronchodilators, muscle relaxants or medications for stomach spasms or heart arrhythmias.

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    Does Oxybutynin Make You Sleepy

    4.9/5Oxybutynincausecausedrowsyin-depth answer

    You may notice some improvement in your symptoms within the first two weeks of treatment. However, it may take six to eight weeks to experience the full benefit of oxybutynin. Talk to your doctor if your symptoms do not improve at all within eight weeks.

    Similarly, what exactly does oxybutynin do? Oxybutynin reduces muscle spasms of the bladder and urinary tract. Oxybutynin is used to treat symptoms of overactive bladder, such as frequent or urgent urination, incontinence , and increased night-time urination. Oxybutynin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

    Beside above, can you take oxybutynin at night?

    Immediate-release oxybutynin is usually taken three to four times daily unless it is just used for night-time urinary incontinence when one dose is taken at night.

    Does oxybutynin cause weight gain?

    Rated Oxybutynin for Overactive Bladder The Oxybutynin ER 5 MG treated the OAB wonderfully, but the side effects were horrible. I had taken them around a month when I started having edema in my legs and ankles, achy calves & rapid weight gain. The doctor didn’t think it was this medicine causing my problems.

    What Is The Half Life Of Oxybutynin

    4.6/52 to 3 hours

    Also know, how long does oxybutynin take to wear off?

    Oxybutynin may control your symptoms, but it will not cure your condition. You may notice some improvement in your symptoms within the first two weeks of treatment. However, it may take up to eight weeks to experience the full benefit of Oxybutynin. You should not stop taking oxybutynin without talking to your doctor.

    Secondly, can you take oxybutynin twice a day? Oxybutynin tablets or medicine may be given two or three times each day. There is a special, modified-release tablet called Lyrinel XL that is given once a day. If it is to be given twice each day, this should be given once in the morning and once in the evening.

    Secondly, can oxybutynin cause retention?

    Oxybutynin can cause classic anticholinergic adverse effects such as dry mouth, blurred vision, urinary retention, constipation, and confusion. These adverse effects may limit titration up to effective doses and reduce adherence to therapy.

    What exactly does oxybutynin do?

    Oxybutynin reduces muscle spasms of the bladder and urinary tract. Oxybutynin is used to treat symptoms of overactive bladder, such as frequent or urgent urination, incontinence , and increased night-time urination.

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    Constant Anticholinergic Drug Use Among Elderly Linked To Higher Dementia Risk

    04 May 2018Joel Vega

    Continued and higher use of anticholinergic drugs among the elderly was linked to dementia risk, according to a new UK study. AC drugs are often prescribed to elderly patients with overactive bladder or incontinence complaints.

    The recent publication of the paper Anticholinergic drugs and risk of dementia: case control study identified an association between exposure to drugs with anticholinergic properties and incident dementia diagnosis, wrote Dr Adrian Wagg in a commentary sent to the European Association of Urology .

    Wagg referred to the paper published recently by the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal . The study was led by K. Richardson, et al. .

    The study, considered the largest of its kind to date, has prompted the researchers to say that clinicians should avoid long-term prescription of some anticholinergics to patients aged 45 and over.

    The study used the Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden scale, which was developed by consensus and literature review. Wagg noted that serum anticholinergic activity, however, has been found to have no link with cognitive impairment in randomised studies .

    There are approximately 16 published scales and measures to measure anticholinergic burden, all with variable inclusion and classification of drugs with anticholinergic properties. No score has been truly validated in terms of anticholinergic activity, and there is significant variation between them, wrote Wagg.



    Overactive Bladder Drugs Tied To Increased Dementia Risk In Diabetes

    Dementia warning: Antidepressants ‘can increase your risk of the incurable condition’

    The use of oxybutynin, solifenacin, and tolterodine for overactive bladder was tied to an increased risk for dementia in patients with diabetes, according to a paper published in the PLoS One journal.

    OAB, characterized by urinary frequency and urgency, is commonly treated with anticholinergics such as oxybutynin, solifenacin, and tolterodine. Anticholinergics not only target bladder smooth muscle muscarinic acetylcholine receptors but also receptors in the brain. Controversy remains regarding the risk of dementia with anticholinergic use, particularly in patients with diabetes who are at a higher risk of dementia.

    Yu-Wan Yang, of the department of neurology at China Medical University Hospital in Taichung, Taiwan, and colleagues sought to investigate the risk of dementia in patients with diabetes associated with oxybutynin, solifenacin, and tolterodine use for OAB.

    The investigators conducted a cohort study of diabetic patients using data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database from 2002 through 2013. The study included 10,938 patients who received one of the anticholinergic medications and 564,733 who did not receive any of the medications.

    The 6-year event rate for dementia was estimated at 3.9% in the oxybutynin group, 4.3% in the solifenacin group, 2.2% in the tolterodine group, and 1.2% in the control group . The dementia event rates decreased in the solifenacin group and the oxybutynin group but increased from 1.2% to 2.4% in the control group.

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